Mississippi College’s 2021 Dance Marathon was a huge success. A record total of nearly $110,000 was raised to support the Children’s of Mississippi.
MC’s energetic event on the Clinton campus drew the praise of leaders at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson.
Students worked hard with faculty to host the event again this spring, noted Jen Hospodor, director of community partnerships at UMMC. Members of the MC family, she said, are “making it bigger and better each year. That is so evident to all of our staff and to our patients.”
“We are so grateful to them for their enthusiasm and their giving spirit,” Hospodor said Wednesday. Children’s of Mississippi serves as the pediatric arm of UMMC. It includes the state’s only children’s hospital as well as pediatric specialty clinics statewide.
Earlier this week, President Blake Thompson and university administrator Jonathan Ambrose accompanied MC Dance Marathon student co-directors Camryn Johnson of Byram and Carley Fisher of Shawnee, Oklahoma, to visit the innovative children’s hospital. Ambrose serves as MC associate vice president for the student experience and dean of students.
Their late April tour of the new Kathy and Joe Sanderson Tower at Children’s of Mississippi “was breathtaking,” says Fisher, a communication major. “The new wing is beautiful and so kid-friendly. It’s full of murals and bright colors. But more importantly, it provides a personal suite for every family that is spacious and private.”
Fisher is delighted to “see first-hand the way the money the MC Dance Marathon has raised has gone to revolutionize the care that Children’s can offer the families of Mississippi.”
MC’s latest marathon looked different in early April as the university met health protocols during the COVID-19 pandemic. There were several dance locations on campus to reduce crowd sizes and keep things safe. Mask wearing and social distancing were practiced.
It was more than a one-night event staged Thursday, April 8. Many students were doing hospital fundraisers during the year, including selling stickers, T-shirts, and desserts. During the previous four years, MC Dance Marathons generated nearly $150,000. That included more than $71,000 raised in 2019.
MC hosted its first dance marathon in 2016. The event in Anderson Hall represented the university’s branch of the Miracle Network Dance Marathon. MC students raised $12,000 in year one, and that number climbed to $42,222 by 2018.
With students decked out in their dancing shoes, the lively marathons helped upgrade cancer patient care, enhanced facilities, expanded two NICU floors and new imaging rooms. This year’s funds will be invested in the new tower at Children’s of Mississippi.