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Dance Marathon Strengthens Batson Children’s Hospital

2019 Dance Marathon at Mississippi College was staged November 21 to benefit Blair Batson Children's Hospital in Jackson.
2019 Dance Marathon at Mississippi College was staged November 21 to benefit Blair Batson Children's Hospital in Jackson.

Mississippi College’s 2019 Dance Marathon to benefit patients at Batson Children’s Hospital proved to be the best one yet.

When energized MC students finally put away their dancing shoes late Thursday evening, more than $71,000 was generated to assist the Jackson hospital.

Mississippi’s only children’s hospital treats about 150,000 children each year. The innovative hospital serves the medical needs of young patients in more than 30 specialty areas – from newborn medicine to pediatric cardiology and surgery.

Students participating in the lively event at Anderson Hall on November 21 were thrilled to announce the final tally. The total of $71,144.93 ranked well above more than $42,000 raised at MC’s Dance Marathon a year ago.

“The campus buy in and support was nothing like we’ve seen before,” says Shem McConnell, the Dance Marathon co-director. “It further shows that Mississippi College is not only a place that will give you a world class education. It also is a university that has a massive heart for people.”

The Student Government Association chief of staff, McConnell worked hard with co-director Emery Applegate and 29 freshmen with the FLIP organization to make it a rousing success.

An MC Presidential Ambassador from Manhattan, Kansas, McConnell took part in a dance video outside Nelson Hall earlier this week to hype the fourth annual event.

Raising more than $71,000, McConnell says, “cements Mississippi College as a national fund-raising leader among schools our size for the Dance Marathon.”

Emery Applegate was equally passionate, praising many students, from clubs, tribes and other organizations, rallying around this terrific cause.

The Mississippi College freshmen team along with upperclassmen mentors, Emery said, “went so above and beyond to exemplify Christ’s love to the Batson community.”

Applegate spotlighted Laguna’s social tribe for raising more than $16,000 to boost Batson Children’s Hospital. Kissimee social tribe collected more than $10,000 in donations.

The steady progress since the event was launched in 2016 on the Clinton campus is quite remarkable. “This year, we raised almost as much as the past three years combined,” Applegate noted.

The Blair Batson Children’s Hospital is a major piece of the University of Mississippi Medical Center. The facility houses the state’s only pediatric intensive care unit and emergency department. The hospital offers Mississippi’s only pediatric treatment programs for cancer, cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia, congenital heart defects and more.

As the evening wore on, Presidential Ambassador Michael Washington had a blast joining classmates in line dancing and warmly welcoming visitors. “The fact that we have the opportunity to affect other kids’ lives means a lot to me,” adds the Choctaws football player from Meridian.

Seeing the smiles on the faces of families of Batson Hospital patients was rewarding for all participants from the Christian university.

SGA President Aaron Feazelle of Diamondhead sees the Dance Marathon as “an amazing way to give back to our community that is fun. It offers an opportunity for everyone to get involved.”

What’s in store for the fifth annual Dance Marathon? Emery Applegate, the FLIP student director, believes the future shines bright. “I cannot wait to see how much we continue to grow and progress in the coming years!”