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BIRMINGHAM (Apr. 5, 2013) – Staying up at all hours of night may be nothing new to college students, but standing up and dancing for 15 hours straight can be challenging for anyone. A group of University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) students will be doing just that on Friday, April 19 from 7 p.m. until Saturday, April 20 at 10 a.m. at the UAB Campus Recreation Center (1501 University Blvd.) to benefit the patients of Children’s of Alabama.
In its first year as a new student organization on campus, the UAB Dance Marathon is a student-run, year-long fundraising effort which culminates in a 15-hour no-sitting, no-sleeping dance marathon on campus. UAB Dance Marathon enlists the support of many student organizations and teams of students across UAB’s campus who participate by personal fundraising and attending several fundraising events throughout the year. All money raised by the UAB Dance Marathon goes to Children’s of Alabama through Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. At the overnight event, UAB athletes, personalities and entertainment will stop by to lend their support and encouragement to the dancers, and miracle stories will be shared about children who have benefited from the care they received at Children’s.
Among the stories of courage and inspiration is Elijah Seritt – who has battled brain cancer at Children’s since 2008 at the age of 19 months with 17 surgeries, chemotherapy and two stem cell transplants. He continues to receive physical, speech and occupational therapy through outpatient services. Elijah’s father, Gary, said, “He’s had a lot of therapy, and it’s been a long row to hoe for about two or three years. Yet, the best picture is that there’s a walker over there that’s lonely. We were told he might never walk unassisted again, but Elijah’s beaten the odds.” As one of UAB basketball’s biggest fans, Elijah was adopted into the Blazer family last year. During the season, he visited with the team who were inspired by how Elijah has overcome his circumstances and flourished despite his prognosis.
Children’s Miracle Network Dance Marathon was founded by Indiana University students in 1991 in memory of Ryan White. Since its inception, it has grown to more than 100 universities and colleges across the country. Entirely student run and all donating 100 percent of the funds directly to the local children’s hospital, Dance Marathons have become a tradition on campus and in the community. UAB Dance Marathon Staff/Faculty Advisor Kira Siegel said, “Year in and year out, college students throw the biggest party of the year for hospitals’ youngest patients. We stay on our feet for hours in honor of children who have been through so much. We dance for those who can’t.”
Children's of Alabama, which was among the first to join Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals (CMNH), raised $1.92 million through CMNH campaigns and partners last year, and 100 percent of the dollars raised locally goes directly to Children's of Alabama. Nationally, CMNH raised more than $300 million dollars in 2012 -- which testifies to the teamwork shown by the families, friends, advocates of children and sponsors who want to help millions of kids overcome diseases and injuries of every kind by providing the finest medical care, life-saving research and preventative education available.
Children’s of Alabama has provided specialized medical care for ill and injured children across the state and throughout the southeastern U.S. since 1911. For the past three years, Children’s has been ranked among the best children’s hospital programs in the nation by US News & World Report. Last year, patients made more than 670,000 outpatient and nearly 14,000 inpatient visits to Children’s from every county in Alabama and from 41 other states and four foreign countries. With more than 2 million square feet, it is the third largest pediatric medical facility in the U.S. Children’s offers inpatient and outpatient services across its Russell Campus on Birmingham’s historic Southside with additional outpatient services provided at Children’s South and Children’s on 3rd. Primary care is provided at more than a dozen medical offices in communities across central Alabama. Children’s of Alabama is the only medical center in Alabama dedicated solely to the care and treatment of children. It is a private, not-for-profit medical center that serves as the primary site of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) pediatric medicine, surgery, research and residency programs. Children’s recently moved much of its inpatient services into a new building named The Benjamin Russell Hospital for Children. More information is available at www.childrensal.org