As Mercer students continue servicing the Macon community, MU Miracle has continued its efforts to support Macon children’s hospitals by throwing its 2022 Bearthon dance marathon fundraiser on March 26.
Bearthon is a nine-hour dance marathon event where MU Miracle and students from all over Mercer raise money for the Beverly Knight Children’s Hospital, celebrate all the accomplishments they’ve made over the past year and bond with the Miracle community to share their passions for the organization and the Miracle kids.
MU Miracle’s goal is to build hope for kids and families in need and to uplift the Macon community. The donations raised during Bearthon stay local and help fund critical treatments, healthcare services, pediatric medical equipment and charitable care.
This year’s Bearthon was attended by many fraternity and sorority programs as well as other Mercer student organizations. The event featured performances from Mercer Colorguard, The Fan Dance Team, Mercer Ballroom, Mercer Dance Team, Mercer Music and Lyrics, and Mercer K-Pop team.
During the event, all Bearthon participants were given hospital bands to wear with their reasons for supporting the event written down on their hospital bands. At the end of the event, they cut off their hospital bands symbolizing their hope that the money they raised would allow kids in local hospitals to also remove their hospital bands and leave the hospital as healthy kids.
Esha Shah, a senior majoring in environmental engineering and the director of special events for MU Miracle, was very excited and helped host the event, which became one of her favorite memories in college.
“I hope that this will continue to be an annual event at Mercer,” Shah said. “Bearthon really has been one of my favorite memories at Mercer and I am so grateful to the entire Miracle team and the Miracle families for coming out and celebrating with us.”
Shah remembers the Miracle families who came to the event and shared their stories. She says they reminded her of why she chose to be a part of MU Miracle.
Other members of MU Miracle also appreciated hearing from other Miracle families while also putting in a lot of effort to make sure the event would be a success.
Arthi Shankar, senior majoring in psychology on the pre-medical track and head of event operations for MU Miracle, said the event was her “literal baby” as she spent the past year planning every single aspect of the event to ensure that it went smoothly. She also raised $5,443 for the event and appreciated the opportunity to help children in Macon.
“Though it was stressful at times, it was honestly one of the best experiences of my life, and I loved watching every planned moment in my head come to life before my very eyes,” Shankar said. “We were fortunate to have the event run smoothly without falling ahead or behind schedule, and I had a really incredible team that helped me ensure that everything went as smooth as it did.”
Shankar remembers hitting a symbolic gong during the event when she reached her fundraising goal along with the other participants symbolizing another healthy heartbeat of a Miracle child. She remembers the participants learning their dances and performing them all throughout the Bearathon experience.
“At the very end of the event, we had the total reveal for how much we raised throughout the year, and I had the honor of raising one of the numbers on stage, which was a very emotional and most memorable experience for me,” Shankar said. “This year, we raised $82,002.41.”
Shankar also wants to come to next year’s Bearthon after she graduates and continue supporting MU Miracle’s hard work. She encourages more people to be involved in MU Miracle and Bearthon in the future.
Nyny Hoang, a freshman majoring in biomedical engineering, was a new student participant and said she will remember her experience during the event fondly.
“I loved it,” Hoang said. “Getting to serve others and work for a very impactful cause is very rewarding for me. We stand for the kids and we dance for the kids and each other. We celebrate all that we raised for the hospital and everyone who contributed.”
Hoang appreciated being a part of MU Miracle’s final push of the year to help raise funds for children in need and helping raise awareness for the organization while doing it.
“I remember a family of twins came, the Swain family, and when the mother was pregnant, she ended up having cancer and had to give birth at 33 weeks, so the twins were in the ICU at Beverly Knight Olsen hospital for a long time,” Hoang said. “Now, several months later, the mother is in remission and the twins are healthy.”
Hoang was ecstatic to see that money raised goes towards a good cause so that families are supported throughout any struggles they might encounter. She will continue to do her part next year as well and help raise money with MU Miracle and Bearthon.
Bearathon is an annual event that will make a return next year with increased morale due to a higher fundraising goal. Until then, there will be smaller fundraising events throughout the year like Table of Terror, canning, intramurals and profit shares from other organizations with hopes that all Mercer students will get involved in the future.