Everybody dance now!
Music blares over the speakers of Kennedy Union ballroom. Hundreds of UD students, dressed in pastels and tutus, dance across the floor, smiling and cheering. Groups of children, overwhelmed with excitement, groove along. This is Flyerthon as it has happened on campus through generations of students.
This year, they will dance on in a modified event that will still capture all the fun and good will.
UD Miracle, a student organization of more than 300 students, seeks to bring joy and optimism to patients of Dayton Children’s Hospital through fundraising, activism and most notably, their 13-hour dance marathon.
“Our biggest goal is to bring awareness to campus and for them to know that [students] can make an impact in the Dayton community while still being in college,” said senior Faith Breeden, president of UD Miracle.
As part of a national Miracle Network organization, the group hosts a number of events each year, including the dance marathon known as Flyerthon scheduled for April 10, to help cover expenses for families seeking treatment for their children.
While this year there are no face-to-face interactions between the children and UD Miracle members, the fundraising has continued.
The fundraising goal for this year is $50,000. Although more reserved than last year’s total of $65,000, the executive board is determined to make the best of the less-than ideal circumstances for fundraising and campus awareness.
“I’ve spent a lot of time in virtual collaboration with other leaders discussing what they are doing,” Breeden said. “We’re in the same boat as all the other dance marathons around the country and the world.”
“We’re in the same boat as all the other dance marathons around the country and the world.”
One new fundraiser that took place this semester revolved around Valentine’s Day. UD Miracle hosted a candygram sale where students purchased orders online for their friends. The UD Miracle executive board then delivered the sweet treats all over campus, demonstrating that socially distant fundraising is possible.
Some members of the group have even organized their own fundraisers.
Junior Anna Sentner, a dancer relations chair for UD Miracle, put her love for baking to good use. She held a makeshift bake sale by advertising her homemade breads, buns and cookies on her personal social media accounts. After five weeks, she had completed nearly 22 orders for friends and peers.
“I baked a lot throughout quarantine and really wanted to find a way I could incorporate that into UDM this year, whether that was baking for my fellow executive board members or having a bake sale to fundraise money,” Sentner said. “Baking for others is truly what makes me happy, and having the money go toward such a special organization makes it all the more worthwhile.”
Sentner gave all of her profits to UD Miracle as an individual donation.
As the date for the anticipated annual dance marathon on campus approaches, Breeden and her team are busy working to ensure that the same energy and joy of a normal Flyerthon can transfer to a virtual format.
The goal is to keep the event as interactive as possible by utilizing Zoom and YouTube Live. Certain segments may also be pre-recorded. As of now, UD students and the children can expect to dance, jump and laugh at Flyerthon from their homes.
If UD alumni are interested in getting involved, Breeden encourages fellow Flyers to join the alumni team, donate or learn more about the organization through its website.
Breeden said she is grateful for the work the group has been able to accomplish thus far.
“Our board is still working really hard. I cannot express how proud I am of all the people that I’ve been working with this past year,” Breeden said.
“We’re still here, and we’re still fighting for the next generation.”
“We’re still here, and we’re still fighting for the next generation. We still want to end childhood illness, and we want to be able to give them their dreams.”