• Matthew Hood

Advice for the Skeptical

My beginning with Dance Marathon is not an amazing story that will leave people in tears. In the fall of my freshman year, I decided to attend a Miracle event simply because it supported the same cause as my fraternity’s philanthropy. I understood that the money raised would go to the children’s hospital, but at the time, I did not fully understand why we dance. During the actual event, I was astounded at the stories presented by the kids from the hospital and their families. To learn what they had gone through was devastating to me, and what saddened me more is that they were just kids. These children are beautiful, little soldiers who do not stop fighting, yet there is no way for them to understand why they are fighting their battles in the hospital to begin with. There is no way to explain to them why they cannot be a normal kid and play outside with their friends, go to school, or eat what they want. Every kid deserves a childhood filled with fun, and as this thought ran through my head during the hours of dancing, it ignited a spark inside me. As I dove deeper into understanding this movement, that spark turned into a tiny flame. This year, I am blessed to be on the Georgia College Miracle exec board. A perk of this is being able to visit the Children’s Hospital and NNICU in Macon. When I entered into the NNICU for the first time, I was left speechless. It is impossible to describe to someone the emotions experienced while being so close to these tiny, prematurely born babies. At first, it is incredibly saddening to wonder why these children must go through these horrible experiences, but then an overwhelming sense of joy sets in, knowing that you are doing everything you can to help these children continue to breath and go on living a healthy, normal childhood. During that visit, my previous tiny spark turned into a fire that now consumes me. The transformation from not knowing anything about this movement whatsoever to planning this event has been life changing. The more involved you become in Miracle, you soon realize that it is not just about raising money or dancing until you cannot dance anymore. This movement is about making a difference whenever possible. Sixty-two kids enter a Children’s Miracle Hospital every minute. It’s difficult to fathom how that is more than one kid every second. It seems that there would be too many kids to help, but that is far from the case. Not many kids on campus even know where the GIVE Center is, but every time I walk into it, I see a poster with a story hanging on the wall. In summary, it says a man was throwing starfish back into the ocean, and even though he cannot save every starfish, he's still making a life-changing difference to every one he does save. This applies to us greatly because yes, we may not be able to save every kid who enters the hospital, but we make a monumental difference to so many kids! If I had one piece of advice for someone who is not involved in the movement of Dance Marathon, I would simply recommend learning more about it. When someone does not understand a topic, they research or get more involved to try to better understand what is occurring. Just like a subject in school, try to understand what is happening on this campus. When you understand this movement more, a fire will consume you that you will not regret it, and dancing for 12 hours does not seem so hard anymore. “We are dancing for those who can’t.”

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