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Mississippi College Dance Marathon Steps Up for Children's of Mississippi Hospital

MC's 2019 Dance Marathon raised more than $71,000 for the state's only children's hospital.
MC's 2019 Dance Marathon raised more than $71,000 for the state's only children's hospital.

Mississippi College students are always eager to lace up their dancing shoes to benefit the Children's of Mississippi Hospital. And 2021 is no exception, with MC's Dance Marathon booked for April 8.

From the marathon’s opening moments at 6 p.m. until the dancing stops at midnight, the lively event will attract money and raise awareness for this premier medical facility in Jackson.

Since day one, MC Dance Marathons have been successful. The six-hour 2019 event on the Clinton campus raised more than $71,000 to assist the hospital in the capital city. Mississippi’s only children’s hospital treats about 150,000 young patients each year.

The innovative hospital serves children's medical needs in more than 30 specialty areas – from newborn medicine to pediatric cardiology and surgery. Children's of Mississippi includes the Batson Tower, the new Kathy and Joe Sanderson Tower, and clinics around the state.

Leaders at the University of Mississippi Medical Center appreciate the strong support from MC students each year. “We are so grateful for their hard work and their dedication to children’s healthcare,” says Jen Hospodor, director of community partnerships at UMMC.

Planning for the fifth Mississippi College Dance Marathon is well underway. The activity will look different in 2021 as the university meets health protocols during the COVID-19 pandemic.

There will be several dance locations reserved on campus “so that we will still have a safe, yet fun flow of things the night of the event,” says Camryn Johnson, the MC student co-director.

Organizers hope to see 500 participants sign up. The goal is to ensure that every person at MC knows about the Dance Marathon, says Johnson, a Byram resident.

It’s much more than a one-night event. There are many students doing hospital fundraisers, including selling stickers, desserts, and T-shirts this year. That Thursday evening at MC will be extra special.

“I’m looking forward to seeing all of our miracle kids and their families on the night of the Dance Marathon,” Johnson said. “It’s so rewarding to see them having such a great time.”

Dance Marathon student co-director Carly Fisher is equally pumped with the event just weeks away.

During its four-year run, the MC Dance Marathon generated nearly $150,000 to benefit the children’s hospital-based at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. “This year’s funds will go towards paying for the new wing that just opened at Children’s Hospital,” says Fisher, a communication major from Shawnee, Oklahoma. “We hope to raise even more than the $71,000 raised in 2019.”

So far, so good. “We have been so encouraged by the heart and fundraising efforts of our campus,” Fisher said.

Students, she said, have “rallied around the Dance Marathon like never before.”

The cost to register is $15. That includes a T-shirt, food, and access to all marathon activities on April 8.

MC launched the dance marathon in 2016. The university’s branch of the Miracle Network Dance Marathon involves several colleges around the Magnolia State. During the first year, MC students raised about $12,000, and that number grew to $42,222 by 2018. Over the years, the MC events helped hospital expansion projects. That includes upgrading cancer patient care, facilities, two expanded NICU floors, and new imaging rooms.

Last year, MC Dance Marathon student leaders were honored with the Miracle Maker Award due to the university's strong fundraising efforts.

2021 Dance Marathon details are found on the Christian university’s website at