Here’s some food for thought. Before you read further, close your eyes and think about your early childhood. Picture yourself smiling ear-to-ear as you listen to your family sing you “Happy Birthday,” the smell of fresh bacon and eggs as your parents kiss you good-morning, the wind shooting across your face as you chase your friends on the playground, the feeling after seeing a Disney movie for the first time and honestly telling yourself that you’d save the world someday if the world called for it. Now imagine those things didn’t exist. Imagine being in and out of the emergency room for days, weeks, months and years at a time. Imagine your parents smothering you with kisses, their tears falling on your face as you wake up from your tenth surgery of the year. Imagine telling yourself that you would one day be able to save the world—only if the world saved you first. The 170 Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals in North America treat just over 940 kids and babies every single hour — in other words, filling Willingham Chapel in 60 minutes, and matching the entire Mercer undergraduate student population in just three hours. Locally, the statistics are just as significant. The Children’s Hospital, Navicent Health, the old building right on Pine Street just 2 minutes from campus, treats an average 45,000 kids in a single year. MU Miracle saw these numbers and decided to stand up and do something. And thus, in January of 2016 during an SGA senate, MU Miracle was officially born, joining a family of over 350 high school and university Dance Marathon organizations across the country. MU Miracle’s sole purpose is to raise funds and awareness for the children’s hospital downtown. Every single penny of what we raise goes directly towards supporting this cause. Last year, as a brand-new organization, our 12-member executive board lead a fundraising push of over $22,000 in just two months’ time. This year, with a new fundraising goal of $30,000, we have had to expand our presence on campus and throughout the Macon community. Through speaking to faculty and administration, presenting at the Visionary Student Panel, and hosting new events such as the Kick-Off for the Kids, Child Health Day, the SoCon Fundraising Challenge (the Men’s Lacrosse team raising over $16,000 in a single month to beat Furman), and Koncert for the Kids, we have strived to establish a campus movement around one central cause, while simultaneously making it a fun, enjoyable experience.[related title="Related Stories" stories="20969,21203" align="left" background="on" border="all" shadow="on"] The best part about what we’re doing is that everything is trial-and-error—it is all a fun experiment testing what works and what doesn’t. We are still finding our way as a new organization, so we really want to work with several student organizations in the future to help build on that foundation. In the long-term, our goal is to connect the Mercer student body with the Macon community more than ever before. We hope to collaborate with community organizations, and we want to eventually establish a high-school dance marathon as well. We have big dreams, and we don’t intend to stop pursuing them. With funding aid from SGA, Quadworks and the QEP: Research that Reaches Out initiative, MU Miracle will be capping off our year with the Week of Hope from March 19 to March 24 and Bearthon on March 25. Bearthon is our 6-hour long pep rally for the kids where we party with our Miracle families, dance and play games, listen to live music and release our fundraising total in a big celebration. In order to attend, you can register your fundraising page by following the link on our Instagram @MU_Miracle. To make things better, enter code ‘Cluster’ to get 50% off your registration fee! MU Miracle has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my college career. As Executive Director, I have been blessed to be surrounded by passionate, selfless, hardworking individuals on the executive board who are constantly looking to improve this movement. I am amazed by the generosity of the hundreds of Mercer students who have donated to this cause, and I cannot wait to see where this movement ends up.
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