On Mar. 9th 550 students gathered at TD Arena to raise awareness and money for sick kids in the local Charleston community. It was Charleston Miracle’s largest event of the year, CougarThon. The daylong dance party brings students, patients and the community together to fight for one cause: helping raise money for local ill children.
Charleston Miracle’s mission is “to help sick and injured kids in our local community get the care they need. We are united around kids and families from our local children’s hospital who need our support.” Miracle’s campaign ultimately raises money for the new MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital, right in downtown Charleston.
Why dancing? Ryan White was the inspiration for the cause, which started at Indiana University in 1991. Ryan contracted HIV through a bad blood transfusion at the age of 13. He spent his next years fighting public stigmatization of AIDS, passing away before attending the event in Indiana. The now nationwide organization looks to further his fight through his favorite activity, dancing.
Charleston Miracle’s fundraising efforts include social media campaigns which drive individual donations and agreements with corporate sponsors. At the event, Charleston Miracle provided Panera and Kickin’ Chicken catering, line dancing and music to entertain event goers.
In addition, supplemental fundraising opportunities were present at the event. One notable one is the artwork auction that earned $300. This art was created by the patients themselves! Patrick Smith, the Executive Director, said Charleston Miracle “brings together the campus community to help children fighting disease.”
All together, Charleston Miracle participants raised $115,678.54 this year with contributions of over $739,757.60 in the past 12 years. The new hospital named a couplet styled room Charleston Miracle for the organization’s efforts. These rooms keep mothers and sick children together to aid recovery.
Sarah English, the VP of Internal Operations at Charleston Miracle, works diligently for the cause because “if we cannot give our children help they need now, they will never reach their full potential as the future Einsteins and Ghandis of the next generation.” This dedication is paying off. In 2017 Charleston Miracle raised $50,000. This year, they more than doubled their contribution due to rebranding, closer integration in the Charleston community and increased student participation.