VSU students fundraise for Children’s Miracle Network | Local News


VALDOSTA — A group of Valdosta State University students will hold a fundraising event for the Children’s Miracle Network 2-8 p.m., Feb. 24, at the Student Union Ballroom. 

VSU Miracle is a student-run effort to benefit CMN, said Samantha Watson-Jones, overall director for VSU Miracle. She said VSU Miracle began on VSU campus in 2004 and an annual event supporting the CMN has been held every year since 2009. 

Jones said the goal amount to be raised is $15,000. She said the Feb. 24 fundraising dinner is open to anyone who would like to attend. 

“Aside from raising funds for our Children’s Miracle Network Hospital, UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital, the purpose of this dinner is to educate the campus community on the wide-spread movement that is Miracle Network Dance Marathon and inspire our campus to become one of the best and most successful programs of our size in the Southeast,” Jones stated in an email. 

Registration for the VSU Miracle dinner is on the Miracle Network Dance Marathon website, which is a fundraising movement benefitting CMN Hospitals and keeps funds local. 

“In 1991, students at Indiana University founded Dance Marathon in the memory of Ryan White, a fellow student who passed away from HIV/AIDS,” Jones said. “Now a movement, the program now spans North America, benefiting hundreds of hospitals and countless kids in the United States and Canada. Miracle Network Dance Marathons benefit Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, a non-profit organization that raises funds and awareness for more than 170 pediatric hospitals across North America – the only children’s charity committed to having 100 percent of the funds raised stay local to support local kids. Dance marathons have become a tradition on campuses nationwide.”

People interested may register and/or donate by visiting tinyurl.com/vsumiracle. The VSU Miracle registration fee is $15, which pays for food and a T-shirt at the event. Organizations or individuals may register as a team. 

Jennifer Casabonne dedicated her VSU Miracle fundraising page on Dance Marathon to the memory of Annabelle and titled her team Annabelle’s Angels. 

Casabonne wrote on her donation page that she babysat Annabelle prior to her passing from childhood cancer. She wrote that Annabelle inspired her to pursue a career in speech pathology, and that CMN helped Annabelle enjoy her four years of life. 

So far, Annabelle’s Angels has raised more than $750. Casabonne’s individual page dedicated to Annabelle has raised more than $500. 

Contributions raised on the VSU Miracle Dance Marathon and during the VSU Miracle event will benefit the UF Health Shands Hospital, a CMN member hospital, which is located in Gainesville, Fla. 

According to a study by U.S. News and World Report, Shands Hospital ranked in the nation’s top 50 children’s hospitals for services in neonatology, pediatric cancer, pediatric cardiology and heart surgery, pediatric diabetes and endocrinology, pediatric neurology and neurosurgery, and pediatric pulmonology. 

For more information on the event, contact Jones at vsumiracle.executivedirector@gmail.com.

Kimberly Cannon is a Reporter with The Valdosta Daily Times. Her extension is 1376.

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