Dance Marathon at UF tops $2 million 'For the Kids'

March 16, 2015

Dance Marathon at the University of Florida has made history once again, raising a record amount – more than $2 million – for UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital.

During the 21st annual event March 14-15 at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center, more than 800 UF students stayed awake and on their feet for 26.2 hours, symbolizing the long illnesses and obstacles pediatric patients and their families face. From the opening ceremonies Saturday at 11:20 a.m. until the closing ceremonies Sunday at 1:20 p.m., students learned line dances, watched live performances, played games and participated in themed activity hours from Dr. Seuss to "Toy Story." Families whose children were treated at Children's Miracle Network Hospitals took the stage to share their stories and inspire the dancers.

The money raised through pledges and events is used for medical research, equipment and activities for patients at UF Health Shands Children's hospital, which is Gainesville’s Children’s Miracle Network Hospital. The yearlong effort culminates in the 26.2-hour event, which last year raised $1,528,330.16. This year's dancers raised $2,015,307.17.

“Their success is a testament to the fact that no obstacle can stand in the way of their passion to help create brighter futures for the kids we serve,” said Taylor Chambers, overall director of Dance Marathon at UF.