UADM raises $307,843.20 for children’s hospitals


CW File

CW / Hannah Saad

Tucker Legerski | @TuckerLegerski, Contributing Writer

Wearing color-coordinated t-shirts and sporting face paints, fairy wings, poster paper, tutus and balloons, hundreds of students helped convert a giant conference room into a dance floor on Saturday. As each student passed the “Rave to Save” sign outside the entrance, it was clear this was no ordinary fundraiser.

“It’s 13.1 hours of standing and dancing,” said Riley Blum, a sophomore majoring in biology. “You’re not supposed to sit down because we are doing it for all the kids that can’t. Today is a touching day. You get to hear these stories and see the kids have so much fun. We get to see why you put in the work and why you stand for 13.1 hours.”

University of Alabama Dance Marathon (UADM) is a student organization that provides financial and emotional support to the Children’s Miracle Network Hospital, Children’s of Alabama in Birmingham, Alabama. Essentially, it’s a year-long campaign to raise funds, culminating in Saturday’s dance marathon, now called BAMAthon, which is the organization’s largest event.

Taylor Scott, a sophomore majoring in biology and the associate director for the First Year Outreach Committee of UA Dance Marathon, said the event is a culmination of a year’s worth of hard work.

“We get to celebrate everything we have done for the year,” Scott said. “We have been working toward this goal of raising all this money, and we have put in a lot of work and a lot of time. It’s getting to see all these people together with really big hearts for sick kids.”

Josh Britt, a junior majoring in economics and public relations, is the vice president of communications for UADM. 

“We have twelve or fifteen families that have been treated at Children’s [Hospital],” he said. “They call BAMAthon their second Christmas. They absolutely love this event. They will see them roaming around, getting to know participants and Dance Marathon staff. You’ll see them playing games, learning the line dance. It’s a really good time.”

UADM has a staff of over 200 members, with over 1,500 registered participants who have fundraised throughout the year. That makes UADM the largest student-run organization on campus and the largest UA philanthropist organization.

Alabama Children’s is the freestanding pediatric hospital in the state of Alabama. It is a private, not-for-profit medical center that specializes in cancer, surgery and blood disorders.  

Throughout the year, UADM members host smaller events, such as a 5K and partnerships with on- and off-campus organizations, as well as local businesses. UADM has consistently raised hundreds of thousands of dollars with its main event, raising $248,796.19 in 2019 and $341,000.18 in 2018. These funds go directly toward the Children’s Hospital of Alabama, impacting the children who rely on their care. 

On Saturday, students moved from a confetti-coated dance floor to the Great Hall, decked out with tables of sponsors, boxes of pizza, rows of balloons and stick-figure air dancers that flopped in front of the windows. Moving from task to task, the students made it their goal to secure final donations.

As the heavy bass died down and the strobe lights began to dim that night, the grand total was revealed: $307,843.20. 

Britt said this means a lot for the staff and participants of UADM.

“You see, this is like an incredible celebration for them,” Britt said. “I think people sometimes think we are in just in a room text messaging trying to fundraise, but in reality, the event is where the magic happens, where we celebrate the hard work we have done, and we get to love on those kids we have supported all year.”