As UADM’s year-long fundraiser has finished and a new year is approaching, the staff interviews will soon begin. To allow UA students an understanding of the different sectors, this blog has been created to help explain what each sector does year-round for the organization. UADM hopes to reach students all over campus who are interested in being on staff and give them insight into each sector and positions that fall under them.
This year, there are 6 main sectors: Marketing, Operations, Involvement, Outreach, Partnerships and Finance. There are so many opportunities for involvement, and we can’t wait to see you on staff!
Vice President: Sonny Franks
Job Highlights: The highlight of being VP of Marketing is getting to watch all of my committee members' creative ideas blossom into campaigns throughout the year. There is nothing cooler than helping my team try something new and watching it take off!
What do you do during the main event? During the Main Event, I work with the media in attendance to ensure that they get the shots and interviews that they need. I also oversee my other committees to ensure that everyone is able to get everything done that they need to.
Favorite memories related to your sector? There are probably too many favorite moments to count. This is such a rewarding job! ... But if I had to pick just one, I would say the moment I remembered to check our Snapchat geofilter analytics from the main event. We had never used geofilters at the event before this year and our creative team had put a ton of time into developing more than a dozen to be used throughout the main. It totally slipped my mind to even check on the geofilters' analytics until a couple days after the event during an executive board meeting. When I saw how many people had even seen our event through a Snapchat story, I burst into tears. It was such a weird little thing in the grand scheme of things, but it really brought me a lot of closure and made the fact that the main event was over and we had raised $340,001.17 feel so much more real.
How many directors do you have? There are three directors under the VP of Marketing: Creative, Media and Public Relations.
Data Tracking (Formerly called Insights)
Directors: Kay Prince and Margaret Tiedt
Job Highlights: We take a deep look into UADM social media accounts including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and our website. Next year, this position will be similar, being in charge of tracking social media and financial impact.
What do you do during the main event? During the main event, the insights (data tracking team) is in charge of tracking data on our social media and picking out active posts, and putting them into a slide show for DJ Tommy Scott to post once an hour to encourage engagement.
Favorite memory or moment related to your sector? Our favorite memory this year is during miracle mania, it was inspiring to track how much money we raised.
How many directors are under you? Margaret and I are both directors and then there is one more person under us.
Director: Catherine May
Job Highlights: The media committee is in charge of all photo and video content released by UADM. This includes creatively documenting all of our events throughout the year, helping select gathered media from past events to promote future events, and creating powerful videos to share our organization’s mission and importance. A large amount of our content we continue to repurpose throughout the year is created at our annual photo shoot at the hospital, where we spend a day with all of the miracle kids that are able to come, shooting themed and candid videos and pictures, and interview both the kids and their parents.
What do you do during the main event? We run around like crazy people with cameras documenting all of the funny, touching, and impactful moments you wonderful people help create (both through photo and video).
Favorite memory or moment related to your sector? This year we were able to produce seven videos showcasing our miracle kids and their families for the video-driven So They Can campaign. Personally I enjoyed getting to talk with each child, and share what is so uniquely beautiful about each of them with the rest of our campus and related people.
How many directors are under you? None (so far), but I have an incredible team of four staff members!
Director: Isabella Rivera
Job Highlights: Bonding and expressing our love for the kids via graphic design.
What do you do during the main event? During the main event creative works closely with the social media team, updating graphics and providing content. Creatives are fortunate enough to immerse themselves in all day of activities, particularly, selling merchandise.
Favorite memory or moment related to your sector? My favorite memory of this year had to have been the meeting we had before LSU week because we all just were bouncing ideas off each other for about 3 hours. There were so many graphics to complete, but at the end of the day we made it happen and you really got to everyone’s creative style in each graphic made. This was such an invaluable experience for us creatives due to the limited timeline, variety of graphics and peer collaboration.
How many directors are under you?
There are 3 AD’s under this position: Assistant Director of Merch Design, Assistant Director of Website Management, Assistant Director of Promotional Material
Director: Meghan Poljak
Job Highlights: We are always in the loop. We get to be creative and share why we love dance marathon with everyone through social media, blogs and contacting the media. We cover and market events, and we even get to participate in the annual Miracle Children photoshoot! We cover all social media outlets including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and Pinterest.
What do you do during the main event? The staff members over social media will capture all main event highlights and share them with the public. The staff members over media relations are charged with covering the event. They get quotes and talk to attendees, really diving into what this event means to them.
Favorite memory or moment related to your sector? My favorite memory definitely has to be the Miracle Family photoshoot. We got a one-on-one meeting with the Miracle Children and their families. It reiterated for me why we dance. Covering that event was also such a blast, the kids were dressing up and eating cupcakes and coloring, just genuinely having fun.
How many directors are under you? I have two Assistant Directors. One for social media (Assistant Director of Social Media) and one for media relations (Assistant Director of Press/Media Relations)
Vice President: Jack Ebersold
Job Highlights: Being able to oversee all of the major operations and tasks that go into making UADM function as efficiently as possible.
What do you do during the main event? During the main event I pretty much oversee the event space and make sure that everything is running smoothly between Morale, transitions, Entertainment, and various other activities throughout the day like the inflatable room and making sure every committee has everything they need to execute their tasks.
Favorite memory or moment related to your sector? My favorite moment was probably seeing the Ferg get transformed during work week into our main event space. It was awesome to see our whole staff come together and do something really special
How many directors are under you?
6 individual directors including (1) Director of Event Coordination/Logistics; (1) Director of Membership Development; (2) Morale Directors; (2) Entertainment Directors.
Director: Fiona Coupe
Job Highlights: We get to work hard at making other committees dreams come true. Our job is to navigate the rules of UA and secure the proper permits necessary to have events. From taping someone to a wall, to having slides by the Ferg, to chalkings around campus, we do it all.
What do you do during the main event? In relation to the main event we create the event layout! Our responsibility is to make sure we have sufficient rooms to satisfy all the needs of different committees.
Favorite memory or moment related to your sector? My favorite memory was $100 day when we taped Dr. Sterritt to the wall! The idea was a little out there, but being able to secure the permission to have the event and seeing it happen was amazing.
How many directors are under you? Currently there are none, but that is subject to change.
Director: Caroline Prichard
Job Highlights: We run Miracle Points, send out staff newsletters, do member recognition at full staff and plan other educational and bonding activities for staff.
What do you do during the main event? We help manage the entire staff’s day of schedules before the event! On the day of, we are mainly just participating and working tables as staff.
Favorite memory or moment related to your sector? My favorite memory was setting up the $100 day room in the Ferg. We stayed there all day and watched everyone get excited and the donations roll in!
How many directors are under you?
I have 3 assistant directors- Member Education, Miracle Points, and Staff Development!
Directors: Jackson Spradlin and Sara Mond
Job Highlights: We plan all of the games, activities, and events that occur during the 12-hour main event. We create the line dance music as well as the dance to teach to Miracle Makers during the event.
What do you do during the main event? Our committee is in charge of keeping everyone actively engaged, fundraising, and participating in activities.
Favorite memory or moment related to your sector? Our committee raised over $17,000 of the $50,000 on $100 day. This made us insanely happy and proud since it was only three days after bringing on our committee members.
How many directors are under you?
We have 12 color captains who are technically serving in assistant director positions.
Co-Directors: Tommy Scott and Caroline Builta
Job Highlights: Getting to serve as the host/MC for the main event and for CB: Being involved in campus outreach and helping make the main event a special day for all involved via performing groups
What do you do during the main event? We serve as the productions manager for lights, sound and video. We serve as the stage manager and serve as the DJ/MC. For CB: we schedule all of the guest performances for the day of and assist with anything they need.
Favorite memory or moment related to your sector?: After the Miracle kids tell their story, we always let them pick out a song. This really makes a difference for them and is a moment that is really touching for everyone. For CB: My favorite event related to my sector was probably the DMing the DJs event, as well as getting to have Riptide and No Strings Attached perform at DM.
How many directors are under you?: None just yet, but there are seven committee members.
Vice President: Ashley Rich
Job Highlights: Getting to work with all areas of campus and different groups through the recruitment, special events and alumni and faculty relations committees
What do you during the main event? Oversee that different parts of the day are running smoothly and make sure that any campus partners we have are pleased with their experience.
Favorite memory or moment in the year related to your sector: Successful execution of the “All DM Day Event” and seeing campus get so excited about our message on $100 day
How many directors are there under you? We currently have four Assistant Directors::
Recruitment, Special Events, Alumni and Faculty Relations, and First Year Committee (Promoted in the Fall)
Faculty and Alumni Relations
Director: Jennie Kriznik
Job Highlights: We contact faculty and try to get them to endorse our organization, offer extra credit to students for attending our events, and encourage their students to sign up to be Miracle Makers and come to our main event.
What do you do during the main event?We are hosting a Hospitality Room for any faculty and alumni that come to the event. Faculty and Alumni families, Loves representatives and hospital representatives are also invited to join us.
Favorite memory or moment related to your sector? Taping Dr. Sterritt to a wall was definitely the highlight of this past year.
How many directors are under you? We currently have three Assistant Directors:
Faculty Relations, UA Alumni Relations, UADM Alumni Relations
Director: Emma Clements
Job Highlights: We are in charge of reaching out to the students at UA to inform them on what UADM is, as well as how to register for the main event. We are broken down into several subcommittees: Individual recruitment, Organizations recruitment, and Greek recruitment.
What do you do during the main event? Recruitment is in charge of checking-in at the main event and keeping track of our retention rate throughout the day. We also act as a “grab bag” committee, available to help any committees that are in need of extra hands on the day of.
Favorite memory or moment related to your sector? Get on Board Day in the Fall and Spring were incredible because we got to tell all of the Freshman about our favorite organization in the world!
How many directors are under you? We currently have five Assistant Directors:
AD Greek, AD Organizations, AD Individual, AD Delegates, and AD First Year Committee (but AD FYC is turning into a Director position next year)
First Year Involvement
Directors: Clint Smith
Job Highlights: I do basic “lesson plans”. I bring in other directors to talk about their committees. They can also recruit the FYC members to their committees to help them out.
What do you do during the main event? I will be making sure that FYC members will be helping out as much as possible with anything that goes on throughout the day. The main goal would be for them to actually just participate in the events throughout the day.
Favorite memory or moment related to your sector? When my first FYC member hit Comma Club!
How many directors are under you? I recruited one FYC member to be an Assistant Director to help manage all of the reports and background work.
VP of Community Outreach: Kaitlyn Haefer
This year, my job is going to be split in half between two VP’s of Community Outreach and Partnerships which I am really excited about! The names of each title kinda explains itself for each position.
For Community Outreach, it includes: Hospital Relations (setting up hospital visits and other volunteer opportunities), Family Relations (staying in contact with our miracle families and hosting events), and the newest, Community Involvement (getting in touch with schools, churches and families to let them know about our different events and informing them about UADM).
For Partnerships, it includes: Corporate (forming partnerships with local businesses), Hospitality (providing donated food for our events and hosting spirit nights), and the newest addition which is special events (planning events outside of the university).
Vice President: Kaitlyn Haefer
Job Highlights: A lot of what I do is strategic planning, finding effective and innovative way to solve obstacles, Human Resource work (recruiting, coaching, counseling and discipling), leading and motivating my directors and committee members, keeping track of our progress, critical decision making, creating and establishing relationships with different professional stakeholders. We have had over 10 different partnerships which has been way more than we have had in the past. We also have twice as many Miracle Children in comparison to last year, and we had our first successful high school event!
What do you do during the main event? During the main event I make sure all of my committees are running smoothly: serving as a lifeline to the miracle children, picking up donated food for over 1,000 dancers, and making sure our sponsors (companies that donate to UADM) are properly being taken care of and dancers are learning about their business.
Favorite memory or moment related to your sector? Taking staff members and miracle makers to the hospital to volunteer with the patients. The events we attended ranged from a Halloween parade to a Sugar Plum Shop during Christmas. For me, it was really special to see our members actually get to see where all of our hard work and time goes! When they saw the patients in person, they suddenly understood the cause that we were fighting for and all of the sudden it made sense.
How many directors are under you?
There are 5: Family Relations, Hospital Relations, High School Relations, Hospitality, Partnerships
Corporate Partnerships (much like new VP position)
Director: Andrew Reed
Job highlights: I get to be the professional side of UADM, contacting local and corporate businesses to help them get involved in our cause. When someone needs something that needs to be paid, my sector is first asked if we can get it donated. We also secure raffle items and in kind donations. Anything from $50 dollar boutique items to $1,000 donations for events, that's our job.
What do you during the main event? During the main event our team is dedicated to fostering incredible donor stewardship among the distinguished invited guests from around Tuscaloosa and the country. We help secure food for everyone as well as serve the food. We make sure the raffle items are correctly specified and help monitor them.
Favorite memory or moment in the year related to your sector? I loved the bouncing ideas Kait, Erica, and I have in our meetings. We love each other and everything we do is valid and we can accomplish so much more together. Which is the theme of our organization. Also, the donation and help from Harbor on 6th, It really bolstered morale on my team and helped them know gaining corporate donations were doable.
How many directors are under you?
None. but I really need an assistant director.
Hospitality and Catering
Director: Erica McNaughton
Job Highlights: One of my more obvious job highlights is the responsibility of garnering enough food donations to feed around 1,000 college students two meals during the main event. I see this process through from start to finish. I am also in charge of planning spirit nights at restaurants on the strip and in downtown Tuscaloosa. When businesses and restaurants think of UADM, they will think of the hundreds of emails I have sent this year, phone calls made by my committee and in-person visits that show how dedicated we are to this organization.
What do you do during the main event? We spend the day traveling to pick up donations for both lunch and dinner, setting up the food and making sure we have everything we need to feed the 1,000+ students at the event.
Favorite memory or moment related to your sector? I feel like a proud mom whenever I get a text saying, “I GOT A DONATION!” If the all caps doesn’t scream excitement, I don’t really know what does. I remember dreading the main event over Christmas break because I was so wrapped up in the fact that my team would be unable to get enough donations to feed the 1,000+ students attending the Main Event, but in the last two weeks my sector has come together to accomplish so much more than I would have thought possible! It’s been such a privilege to lead this team, and I cannot wait to see what this sector accomplishes next year.
How many directors are under you?
None, but I’m definitely wishing I had an assistant.
Director: Emily Chiaravalloti
Job Highlights: I work to facilitate the recruitment and retention of our Miracle Families. I interview our potential staff members at the beginning of the year to locate people who are passionate about making connections with kids whose lives have been forever impacted by the incredible care at Children’s of Alabama. We plan fun events like our Miracle Family Fall Festival and Holiday Party, and work to contact new families and find opportunities to meet new families and tell them about all the fun and joy that they could experience through sharing their story of miracles with all of UADM.
What do you do during the main event?, Family Relations gets to hang out with their paired Miracle Kid, and all of the other Miracle Kids and their families all day long. At the top of every themed hour during Dance Marathon, one of the families will get on stage to share the impact that Children’s has had on their life.
Favorite memory or moment related to your sector? We had our second annual Miracle Family Fall Festival back in November, and the turnout was great.
How many directors are under you? I have two ADs. Liz Fromhold is my awesome Assistant Director of Family Relations, and Anthony Lipscomb is the wonderful Assistant Director of Volunteer Services.
Director: Mary-Margaret Schmidt
Job highlights: I get to organize and plan high school fundraisers. Anything from button sales to dance events all the way to mini-marathons (hopefully in the future).
What do you during the main event? During the main event my sector is there to help all the other outreach teams and to enjoy the day.
Favorite memory or moment in the year related to your sector? My favorite memory so far has been planning and MC-ing the first ever high school event. Before the dance showcase, we had a pizza party with the high schoolers who helped promote the event. The UA track team came to talk to them and we all just hang out and ate our weight in pizza.
How many directors are under you?
We started out with two but this committee really works when everyone is doing an equal amount of work. This year was a planning year and trial and error year so next year there hopefully will be one awesome Assistant Director!
Vice President: Cavi Drake
Job highlights: Getting to be creative in thinking of ways to fundraise, being able to have access to donor drive information.
What do you do during the main event? I will be tracking money for the majority of the day, in addition to assisting Taylor, Becca and Sarah with in-event fundraising and ensuring we are in sync with what morale has planned for the day.
Favorite memory or moment in the year related to your sector? Definitely counting money until 3:00 a.m. on $100 Day and finding out we raised $50,000!
How many directors are there under you?
3 - Director of Account Management, Director of Fundraising Campaigns, Director of Miracle Maker Relations.
Director: Becca Michel
Job Highlights: Getting to brainstorm, plan and orchestrate all of the major fundraising pushes for UADM is honestly indescribable. Our job is to plan summer fundraising, $100 Day, LSU Week, holiday fundraising, Miracle Mania and in-event fundraising.
What do you do during the main event? During the main event, I will be coordinating with Morale, Miracle Maker Relations and Account Management to ensure all fundraising tactics are being executed as perfectly as possible in order to accumulate as much fundraising as possible throughout the day.
Favorite memory or moment in the year related to your sector? My favorite memory related to being Director of Fundraising Campaigns was after my first major campaign, $100 Day, there came a moment where it was just me, Caroline (Account Management) and Exec, and I was the only one who didn’t know how much we had fundraised so far. They all had access to DonorDrive, and even before counting all of the money we had in cash they told me already had more than $30,000 on DonorDrive. At that moment, I literally just began to sob because I had no idea what I was doing the entire day, and to see everything work out in such an amazing way where we raised $50,000 in one day.
How many directors are there under you? 1 Co-Director, 4 Committee Members
Director: Caroline Lee
Job highlights: I enjoy counting money, and just watching the total money add up and up close to our goal.
What do you during the main event? During the main event, I will be tracking online donations, all offline donations including cash donations, donations through Venmo, and the donations through the card reader. Each hour we will track our merchandise sales. My Merchandise Assistant Director will be selling merchandise, and have FYC members and other staff helping make buttons, and sell merchandise.
Favorite memory or moment in the year related to your sector?: Definitely bonding with other staff members counting money for many many late hours.
How many directors are there under you? There are 3 directors under me. The Analytics/Insights Assistant Director, Merchandise Assistant Director, and the Corporate Assistant Director are all under me.
Miracle- Maker Relations
Director: Taylor Barron
Job highlights: I love my job! I get to work with the miracle makers and encourage them to fundraise and become more involved in UADM.
What do you during the main event? I’ll be working random stations and helping out wherever needed.
Favorite memory or moment in the year related to your sector?: On $100 Day when miracle makers raised over $7,000 (like $6,500 more than they raised on $100 Day last year)
How many directors are there under you? I have two assistant directors, one of Miracle Maker Emails and one of Miracle Maker Involvement, and I have eight other committee members.
This holiday season, UADM has created their own version of a classic carol by modifying the lyrics to be For The Kids (FTK) instead! Participants will be challenged to complete a specific task… But that’s not all! In order to make this fundraiser even more magical, each day will also be attributed to one of our incredible miracle children! Let’s get started…
1. Send your cheesiest selfie at the Loves’s Travel Stops on your way home for the holidays!
Hometown: Birmingham, AL
Fun Fact: Addison’s favorite disney character is the Minions!
Treatment: Addison was born with Polycystic Kidney Disease. She had her kidneys removed at just three days old. At the age of two, her father donated a kidney to her which resulted in her being finally able to complete dialysis. At six years old, her liver and kidney stopped working properly. Last year, Addison received another kidney transplant, as well as a liver transplant, at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.
2. Ask 2 local businesses if they want to be FTK and let you place a can or box to collect money!
Age: 17 as of November 19th!
Hometown: Mount Olive, AL
Fun Fact: Alex is an incredibly talented dancer! He even founded his own non-profit organization, Dancers Fighting Cancer. For the past eight years, he has organized the Tapping Out Cancer event where student and professional dancers perform at the Alabama Theatre in Birmingham!
Treatment: In 2008, Alex was diagnosed with a severe bone cancer, called Ewing’s Sarcoma. After eight long months of chemotherapy, he was deemed cancer free! Throughout his whole life, Alex has loved dancing and has used his miracles to continue raising awareness and money to fight pediatric cancer.
3. Convince 3 of your friends to register for our final event, so you can all dance the day away together!
Hometown: Tuscaloosa, AL
Fun Fact: Ashley loves going to the beach, and one of her favorite songs is Pontoon by Little Big Town. She performs this song every year for all of our Miracle Makers at Dance Marathon!
Treatment: Ashley was born with Down Syndrome and has undergone over 27 surgeries as a result of her diagnosis, including open heart surgery. Despite everything she has gone through, she remains an inspiration and shining star to everyone around her!
4. Persuade your parents to let you do chores to raise money FTK. It’s a Win Win!
Hometown: Tuscaloosa, AL
Fun Fact: Caleb was one of Dance Marathon’s original Miracle Kids and has been with us since the beginning!
Treatment: Caleb was born with a rare autoimmune disorder called hypogammaglobulinemia. Every four weeks he travels to Children’s to receive a special treatment to rebuild his immune system just to be able to fight off everyday germs. It takes over 150,000 donors to create each dose of his treatment!
5. Post 5 reasons why you’re FTK, even though there are hundreds to choose from!
Hometown: Gurley, AL
Fun Fact: Lindsey has been the Children’s Miracle Network Hospital Alabama Champion and has been recognized nationally for her bravery, optimism and bright spirit. Also, she sings every year at Dance Marathon and is an incredibly talented musician!
Treatment: Lindsey lost her sight when she was four-years-old due to a rare form of cancer that manifested in her eyes. She has spent her life dedicated to raising awareness for childhood health, and is now a student at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. She is double majoring in Music and Psychology, and last year, she started the very first Dance Marathon at UAH!
6. Knock on 6 doors to raise money. (Bonus if you do this while caroling!)
Hometown: Opelika, AL
Fun Fact: Every year Trace has been involved with Dance Marathon, he has been given the title of an Honorary Morale Member!
Treatment: Trace was born with severe jaundice and glaucoma. He has had over 11 corrective surgeries to fix the cataracts in his eyes. Last year he received the exciting news that he doesn’t need anymore eye surgeries until he is 18 years old!
7. Ask 7 people for a donation, even if it’s a dollar, every penny counts!
Mary Elizabeth Olvey
Hometown: Hayden, AL
Fun Fact: Mary Elizabeth danced in her dance recital while she was still receiving chemotherapy treatment, which just shows how much of a miracle she is!
Treatment: Mary Elizabeth was diagnosed with Acute Lyphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) when she was just 3 years old. She began chemotherapy within a week of her diagnosis, and is now over 18 months treatment free!
8. Wrap 8 presents FTK!
Favorite Thing: Anything Disney, especially the princesses!
Favorite Song: Somewhere Over the Rainbow
Fun Fact: For this sweet girl’s sweet 16 in November, she received news from her family that fulfills her life dream… To go to Disney World!
Treatment: Diagnosed with Cornelia de Lange syndrome when she was a toddler, Kenzie was predicted to never walk. After many surgeries to strengthen, reconstruct, and straighten her feet and ankles, Kenzie not only walks, but she spins and dances, too!!!
9. Send out emails or texts asking for a donation. Great way to get people in the holiday spirit of giving!
Hometown: Hoover, AL
Fun Fact: In 2015, James was chosen as the Children’s Miracle Network Hospital Alabama Champion. In the first week of this November, James was recognized with the Vulcan Community Hero award for his “civic pride, leadership and progress.”
Favorite Activity: Wheelchair Basketball
Treatment: James was born with hydrocephalus, a spinal cord tumor, Dandy-Walker syndrome, mild cerebral palsy, craniocerebral disproportion, and a chiari malformation. He has had over 20 different surgeries, all at Children’s of Alabama.
10. Donate $10 to a friend’s Donor Drive. An early Christmas gift?!
Hometown: Jasper, AL
Favorite Activity: Anything related to sports (Most recently, he developed his own game to hit a balloon to keep it off the floor for hours at our Miracle Family Holiday Party!)
Treatment: Diagnosed with congenital nephrotic syndrome (kidney disease) at just a few weeks old. Little Colton was on over 15 different daily medications and received home dialysis for years. At the age of two, he received a kidney transplant from his father, Kevin. This miracle surgery helped Colton to grow into the bright, smiling, energy-filled 6-year-old he is today.
11. Make a phone call for a donation. Don’t forget to wish them a happy holiday!
Hometown: Pelham, AL
Favorite Movie: Sword in the Stones
Favorite Activity: Styling Barbie’s hair!
Dream Job: “When I grow up I want to be an adventurer and explore the world.”
Treatment: She is being treated for cervical spinal cord injury due to a motor vehicle accident.
12. Create a special holiday card for our 12 miracle kids!
Hometown: Tuscaloosa, AL
Favorite Movie: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Favorite Activity: Going to see animals at the barnyard
Dream Job: “When I grow up I want to be a mommy.”
Treatment: Currently attends physical and occupational therapy sessions weekly at Children’s of Alabama. She was diagnosed with transverse myelitis at the age of 2 and works hard to regain her strength, mobility and independence.
Hey there Miracle Makers! As The University of Alabama’s football team has remained undefeated with a total of 10 wins, UADM has tried to follow in the team’s footsteps. UA Dance Marathon kicked off the month of November with the annual “Beat LSU week,” as University of Alabama competes with Louisiana State University’s Dance Marathon. This fundraising battle allocates funds for the research, facilities and treatments of miracle kids at Children’s of Alabama and Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital in Louisiana.
BEAT LSU WEEK began on the Sunday before the LSU/BAMA game with the release of the “So They Can” campaign. This campaign represents the idea that UADM runs to raise money for miracle kids, “so they can” one day attend college and live their dreams just like current DM staff and participants. VP of Marketing, Sonny Franks said, “So They Can" sums up why we do everything that we do FTK. We want to give these kids the opportunity to live their childhoods to the fullest and grow up to accomplish whatever it is they set their minds to. We raise money so they can receive the best treatment possible. We stand on our feet for twelve hours so they can lead the lives they deserve.”
On Monday, DM’ers took full advantage of Halloween and dressed out in costumes for a “canning craze.” Costume day meant UADM staff was all over campus with our usual antics of dressing up and proclaiming the story of the familiar acronym we have all come to know and love: FTK. For the Kids.
On Tuesday, UADM partnered with Chipotle for a Spirit Night, where Chipotle gave half of all proceeds to UADM, specifically Children’s of Alabama. The line was out the door, and the amount raised FTK was even more impressive. Chipotle night raised a total of $1,448 towards UADM’s BEAT LSU WEEK total!
On Wednesday, during the day, there was a race to get donations from all 50 states. Graphics were updated accordingly until all the states were colored in, meaning the staff and miracle makers received donations from a donor in every state in America. At night, UADM had a SK80’s Night at Super Skate sponsored by The Harbor on Sixth.
On Thursday, UADM’s goal was to get 100 registrations by the end of the day as the main event in February was official 100 days away. There was also a Phi Delt event at Red Shed with proceeds going to Children’s of Alabama Towards the week, UADM was at the Ferguson Starbucks selling their game day buttons like “and LSU” and “ hurts 2 good.”
On Friday, there was a final push for fundraising. All of UADM came together to raise the most money possible to beat LSU’s Dance Marathon, FTK. As people drove to LSU, UADM had an on-the-road donation game, where people donated whenever they got a “Roll Tide” or saw licence plates with the letters “F,T, or K.”
At the end of the week, 32, 814.24 dollars were raised. From canning in costumes, to skating through the 80’s, to gameday buttons galore to connecting with donors from all over the United States---it was truly a successful week. Saturday was filled with angst on and off the field as people waited for UA to score and find out the grand total. Both philanthropies were able to rise over $83,000 together for their respective hospitals! Many thanks to all who were involved in this amazing endeavor and it is from here we look forward to project our hope and excitement for all we can accomplish, with UA Dance Marathon-- For The Kids.
The University of Alabama Miracle Network Dance Marathon has recently completed its' campus-wide “GO GOLD” campaign, in the the month of September. September is nationally recognized as childhood cancer awareness month, and is commemorated with a gold ribbon. As well as Going Gold, Dance Marathon also Slid into DM with a giant slide on the Ferguson Center Promenade as well as raised $50K on $100 Day. What a golden month! We could not be prouder of our miracle makers and staff for their dedication and involvement this September. To share some info on Going Gold, we have Ashley Rich: VP of Campus Involvement, Meghan Poljak: Director of PR and Sarah Urbanski: President.
The Vice President of Campus Involvement, Ashley Rich stated, “Going gold means that we are trying to get the entire campus to really embrace the gold ribbon of childhood cancer awareness month by getting registered to be miracle makers and reaching out to family and friends to fundraising for UADM! We are really aiming to get different organizations on campus to participate with us along with highlighting individuals who have already ‘gone gold’ and have started their fundraising with UADM 2017.”
According to the Children’s Cancer Research Fund website, during the month of September:
“25,000 families around the world will get the horrible news that their child or teen has cancer.
6,667 families will experience the loss of a child.”
Much like many organizations who raise funds for cancer research, UADM raises funds for Children’s of Alabama so they can research what causes cancer as well as provide treatments to patients.
Director of Public Relations, Meghan Poljak states, “Going gold is all about childhood cancer awareness. It is about those kids who are suffering every day and how we can acknowledge and support them in all the ways that we can. This month we want to highlight as many people as we can because they are true champions. We are so fortunate to have such love and support from organizations around campus and our advisors."
UADM hoped to provide awareness and raise as many funds as possible during the month of September with events such as $100 day, so that we could allow more miracle makers to register and access their donor drives and be prepared for the event this February.
“UADM Goes Gold is an opportunity for us to raise awareness for what our organization stands for. So many children are treated at Children’s of Alabama every year for cancer, and even a few of our miracle children were treated there for cancer. By going gold, we are showing our support to those kids and we are encouraging the campus to stand with us against pediatric cancer and all pediatric illnesses” said UADM President Sarah Urbanski
Going Gold even highlighted special Miracle Makers on campus doing exceptionally well in meeting their fundraising goals. There was one miracle maker for every day in September. These honorees included: Blake Harrison, Megan Condi, Brianna Dinicola, Hannah Parker, Andrew Schwitzgebel, Cameron Fink, Meghan Gilhooly, Ellora Lalla, Alexis France, Teresa Ziemba, Maddie Leupold, Lauren May, Morgan Frick, Rachel Robinson, Logan Derbes, Emma Dizza, Anne Dillon Loflin, Alexandea Keene, Elizabeth Cusick, Maxwell Martin, Meredith Duncan, Maura Pawlowski, Madison Ballinger, Erin Bilder, Peyton Ballet, Emily Jeris, Miranda Lessner, and Rachel Guiles.
In recognition of Going Gold, UADM had an event called “Slide into DM” in honor of Childhood Cancer Awareness, recognition for our event this February and also implementing a registration push. This fun event took place on September 21st and allowed students to be a kid again, much like many events operated by Dance Marathon.
Besides all the other events going on we couldn’t forget to mention the overwhelming success that was $100 Day!!! If you still have not heard about this initiative, DM staff was encouraged to raise $100 dollars each on September 14th in honor of going gold. UADM raised 50,160.58 FTK!
Wow, what an awesome month. Stay tuned for more news from UADM including more staff highlights and updates from Beat Auburn Beat Hunger as well as LSU WEEK!
FTK, and ROLL MIRACLES ROLL!
From backflips, to pies in the face, to performing an avant-garde, one-man production of Hamilton in front of Gorgas Library--- these activities all have one thing in common: they raised money FTK.
Yesterday was $100 Dollar Day, meaning, all staff members for University of Alabama Miracle Network Dance Marathon were encouraged to raise $100 dollars individually, and go all out with whatever creative techniques they wished to use to achieve that goal. If you were a student at UA, you most likely saw some fellow classmates decked out in tutu’s, face paint, or with a jar in hand. Staff members and Miracle Makers work all their fundraising magic and attempt to contribute to this year’s $100 Day cumulative goal of $30,000.
This annual event occurs in the fall and is part of a bigger fundraising/registration push for the month of September. We chose to “Go GOLD in support of childhood cancer awareness month to help spread awareness for UADM as well as allow an all-inclusive environment for all students to feel a part of UADM’s cause—raising money for Children’s of Alabama to help sick kids celebrate another birthday.
This hope is that one day, Miracle children (patients at Children’s of Alabama) can be where we are as college students, pursuing their dreams and have all the same opportunities as we do.
A giant chalkboard set up on the quad yesterday represented UADM’s mantra in many ways, as it said: “Who do you stand for.” Some students wrote beloved family members, some wrote down friends’ names and some wrote down “FTK.” These three letters tie UADM together, unite and have all the hope in the world behind them.
Even our dear Assistant VP of Student Affairs, Adam Sterritt, joined in the fun and allowed students to tape him to the wall. Sterritt raised money FTK in the Ferguson Center dining area--ultimately using 9 entire rolls of Gorilla duct-tape, sold a dollar a yard to local students.
At the end of the day, after all these performances, tabling endeavors, Moo-Yah percentage night, countless emails sent, canning anywhere and everywhere not to mention full out delirium-- the Miracle Makers, UADM Staff as well as countless of donors nationwide contributed to UADM’s overall $100 Day total of $50, 160.58 FTK! This number is part of a bigger goal, to give back as much as possible to the hospital we hold so near and dear to our hearts. A goal that unites us all and gives UADM the confidence that we can always pursue bigger things if we only just believe.
Hey there Miracle Makers! This week we wanted to do a special staff highlight for staff member DJ Tommy Scott! Coming all the way from Dublin, Ohio--this staff member has already made a big impact at UA through Dance Marathon, and wanted to share his story to story to show how students can make a difference, FTK! Here is his story---
“So for me joining UADM was a very easy decision. Coming from high school I was a pediatric cancer research assistant as well as a commercial DJ. The only event in the world that joins my two passions together is Dance Marathon. I started my freshman year as a consultant to UADM about how to run productions equipment, but actually ended up serving as the DJ for the main event in 2015. I was invited back on staff to serve as the DJ for the following year and really enjoyed building the production side of UADM. I served as the DJ for the main event in 2016 as well. I was then brought on as a director for the 2017 year. My job is the best because I get to bring the kids on stage and let them have some special moments in front of a large crowd. I stayed involved because of how much it means to me. As a pediatric cancer research assistant this cause is personal to me and it means a lot to give back. I find the time spent involved in UADM is very worthwhile, which is very important to me. I have been active all over campus including in a fraternity, a member of Capstone Men and Women as well as volunteering with Habitat for Humanity and Hospice of West Alabama. In my involvement in all of these organizations, I can absolutely recommend becoming involved in UADM because it has truly been one of the best experiences in my life.” - UA Junior “DJ” Tommy Scott, UADM Director of Events, Capstone Men and Women, Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity
Hey there Miracle Makers! Welcome back to the Capstone. The University of Alabama Miracle Network Dance Marathon is approaching our 6th active year on UA’s campus, and being a part of a school known for breaking records--always pushing to be better, we are pushing for our DM to be better in the same way. This year we want to unite our student body by including all possible campus organizations, and reach out to all available individuals to ensure that our message is heard. “One Generation, Fighting for the Next.” As our student population grows, we hope to create a yearlong fundraising effort, and event that is as big and impressive as our student body. But why should you desire to join such an effort, you ask? The staff and miracle makers come from diverse organizations all across campus, all for the same cause, for the kids. Over the next few weeks, we will ask some of our current staff members and miracle makers what made them join the DM movement.
Firstly, a fundraising rockstar with a personal connection to CMNH and an increased passion to serve others.
"My name is Emily Cvitanovich and this is my story on why I joined University of Alabama Dance Marathon. In 1995, my only sister Mary Beth was born. Little did my parents know, that this perfect baby girl was going to have a neurological disorder called Rett Syndrome. As long as I've been alive, I've never heard Mary Beth speak. She can't walk independently, she has frequent seizures, and she is severely disabled. After traveling all over the country looking for answers, my parents found the world's expert on Rett Syndrome at Children's Hospital in Alabama.
When Mary Beth was 7, the doctors said that her spinal curve was over 65 degrees. They said she would not live to see her 13th birthday, that her heart and her lungs would be crushed. After hearing the news, my parents made the heart-wrenching decision for Mary Beth to have a full spinal fusion surgery.
Because we chose Children's Hospital, Mary Beth was able to have one of the best orthopedic surgeons in the country perform surgery on her. Today, Mary Beth is 21 years old, and we continue to bring Mary Beth to Children's of Alabama every year. Thanks to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, she was able to go to her senior prom and walk at graduation with my graduating class. Thanks to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, they have given us a great quality of life that my sister might not have had and that we might not have gotten to experience with her.
They truly are "Miracle Workers" and being a part of an organization that boldly supports my family and other families just like us is what makes me so thankful and beyond happy to proudly say that I am a part of University of Alabama Dance Marathon, and we support Children's Miracle Network Hospitals." -UA Sophomore Emily Cvitanovich, UADM Assistant Director of Fundraising, SGA Director of Fundraising, Phi Mu Sorority
Three weeks have passed since UADM’s 5th annual main event. As we look back on this year of miracle making, we can’t help but think about all the amazing changes and challenges that we faced.
We started this year by reestablishing our logo. Children’s notorious hot air balloon transformed to the inextinguishable flame. UADM united with Miracle Network Dance Marathons and began our “#BeTheSpark” campaign. We centered the rebrand around this hashtag that invited the Tuscaloosa community to get involved and make a difference. The rebrand was just the start of UADM’s transformation and expansion.
This year we were more than excited to start our relationship with The Center for Service and Leadership. Joining their department meant the world to us, and we could not have had such an astounding year without their love and support.
UADM also had the wonderful opportunity of welcoming Delegates to the family. We saw the want in first year students to get involved with this movement right away. Delegates help out by doing the much-needed job of spreading the word and educating students about our event.
In September, UADM went “Gold” to support Childhood Cancer Awareness. We encouraged staff members to go gold and raise $50 FTK. More than 50 staff members brought home the gold! This initial fundraising event really set the tone for the rest of the year. Staff member after staff member saw their impact and used this momentum to keep that flame lit.
October welcomed one of the most daunting tasks for UADM 2016 $100 Day. That’s right, everyone on staff was challenged to raise $100 in just one day. Students did not just raise the fundraising goal; they doubled and tripled it. Competitive nature set in, and everyone had to get a little creative. They went full out DM décor. If you don’t know what that means exactly, it’s tutus and glitter and face paint and basically anything considered bright and shiny. Some went canning, some got pied, and some used puppies to raise the most, FTK. The acceptance and support UADM was shown throughout campus was greater than any amount. That being said, in one day, we raised $20,408.91 for Children’s of Alabama.
The miracles continued and buttons were in high demand. November came and it was time for the second “BeatLSU” week. We partnered with LSU for a week filled with non-stop fundraising madness. After all, the loser had to preform the other’s fight song. LSU, wanting to make up for last year’s loss, pulled out the win by raising $46,039.42! Together we raised $66,041.93, and we would gladly sing their fight song in celebration of that amount.
On February 27, 2016, we expanded the Main Event to the Bryant Conference Center and stood for 12 hours straight. Continuing with previous traditions, we brought back a DJ and the “jail.” Each of the 12 hours was split up by various themes such as, tropical, throwback and American hour. The six color teams competed all day by participating in the events and raising money, making sure they obtained that winning title. Some highlights of the day were performances by Riptide, No Strings Attached and the infamous rave at the end of the night. None of this would be worthwhile without the Miracle Families and their stories. And after those strenuous 12 hours of absolute anticipation, the executive members took the stage to uncover the grand total. Number after number all of our hard work was revealed. We did it; we raised $211,342.16 FTK! None of this could be possible without everyone who came and supported us this year. Thank you for helping make miracles happen. See you again next year, as for now, FTK and Roll Miracles Roll.
On behalf of everyone at UADM, we would love to wish you all a happy Valentine's day! This day is centered around love, and we would like to take the time to say how much we appreciate everyone involved with this organization. Thank you for putting the time, effort and love into dance marathon. We truly could not do it without everyone's hard work and passion. It doesn't take much to fall in love with our miracle families, and we are so excited to experience the main event with them in less than TWO WEEKS!! So, continue spreading the love and join us on Feb. 27th to stand FTK!
I’ll say it again, because holy cow $66,041.93 FTK! BeatLSU week came to a close last night, with UADM raising $20,002.51 and DMatLSU raising $46,039.42. What an astounding amount to lose to. We could not be more proud to have been apart of that grand total. Only after five years of being an organization, UADM can say they raised $20,000 in seven days, how amazing is that?
Here’s a little bit on how this past week went down.
The week started off just as strong as it ended. Immediately, both dance marathons turned to social media to let each other know they were not going down without a fight. Twitter banter and lighthearted gifs sent back and forth sparked an even greater incentive to preserve our title.
Fundraising events were in full swing this week. Of course, we continued selling those notorious buttons. We even added decals and “Miracle Makers” T-shirts. Staffers were also encouraged to collect spare change from people around campus and invite everyone to sign up for the main event in February. Along with our normal fundraising techniques, we orchestrated spirit nights where a portion of the proceeds go directly to Children’s of Alabama, and we coordinated a corn-hole competition for students to get involved while also raising money.
Now the battle of DMs is tied 1-1, and we are even more excited to see what this competition can do next year. Until then, Roll Tide and FTK!