Child Health Day
On October 4th, we had the incredible opportunity to celebrate one of the most important days of the year for all of us in Dance Marathon: Child Health Day! Every year, the first Monday in October is a national day of observance bringing attention to the ongoing need to protect, support, and further develop the health of children in the United States.
Why is it important?
Child Health Day serves as a single day dedicated entirely to children with life-threatening illnesses and injuries nationwide. However, these kids and families do not stop fighting once the day has passed. Every minute, 62 children enter a Children's Miracle Network Hospital, and each year, 1 in 10 children in North America receive treatment from a Children’s Miracle Network Hospital. Celebrating Child Health Day brings awareness and visibility to this cause in hopes that we may be able to one day live in a world where kids get to be just kids. Until that point in time, we focus our efforts on raising money that can help with research, facilities, and creating a more comfortable environment for kids and families during their hospital stay.
Many of us had the privilege of living our childhoods in good health. Instead of frequently getting blood drawn, we were drawing pictures with crayons and markers. Pokes came from friends goofing around at school, not from doctors with needles. We could run, jump, and dance to our hearts’ content. But Child Health Day isn’t about us. It’s about advocating for kids who don’t have the privilege of good health. Every kid deserves to be a kid, and spreading awareness about childhood illnesses and injuries can help make this hope a reality.
When our UNI dancers woke up on October 4th ready to go out and fundraise, it came as an unexpected surprise that both Facebook and Instagram were experiencing nationwide outages. Despite the technological hiccup, our executive board, morale captains, and dancers all stepped up to spread their message in-person.
UNI DM had a table set up on Lawther Field to recruit new dancers and make our presence known on-campus. Marley Millar is the Assistant Director of Family Relations, and she took a few hours out of her day to spread the word about Child Health Day.
“Tabling is an awesome way to connect the UNI community to Dance Marathon. So many times, you’ll talk to someone who is on the fence about registering or who has never heard about the organization. After sharing your “why,” they almost always sign up. By giving people the opportunity to ask questions and by being able to provide personal experiences and logical answers, we can connect those future miracle makers to the organization and help them realize how phenomenal the work we do really is.”
Throughout the entire year, dancers take the time to stand outside of businesses and ask people for donations, an activity we call “canning”. Child Health Day was no different, and dancers were set up at Walmart and Fareway, accepting donations of people’s spare change and sometimes even more! Emma Durian, Assistant Director of Mini Marathons, is always willing to raise money through canning.
“Canning is a great way to not only fundraise for the hospital, but also share more about what our organization does with the people in the community. On Child Health Day specifically, we talked with people about changing children’s health and how every donation, big and small, helps this cause.”
As a nationwide organization, Miracle Network Dance Marathon raised $630,367.10 and registered 9,190 students on October 4th alone. While Child Health Day was a great success, we can always continue to do more for our Miracle Kiddos. At UNI, Together We Can continue to fight until our Big Event in March, and every day until kiddos no longer have to fight for their own health.