Central’s Miracle

Erin Tozier, Staff Writer

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On a Friday night in February, Central’s cafeteria was filled with over 200 high school, middle school, and college students and their families, ready to dance the night away to raise money for kids currently being treated at the Children’s Hospital of Atlanta. For the first time in the history of Children’s Miracle
Network, grade-level schools partnered with a local college to host a mini dance marathon in hopes of spreading awareness and getting more people in the community involved in the support of children with medical issues and illnesses.

Kennesaw State University, Otwell Middle School, Forsyth Central High School, and Lambert High School joined forces in the combined effort, called Central Miracle, setting a donation goal of $20,000. Dancers set up individual donor drives prior to the event, collecting as much as they could before the big night. All of the proceeds from tickets and concessions during the danceathon would also count towards the grand total.

Attendees to the event were greeted by superheroes, both the KSU students in costumes and the miracle children running around with CHOA capes on. The dancing and team-building games, organized by KSU Miracle leaders, were interspersed with five unique stories from families of a CHOA patient, both previously and currently being treated. Each story offered a personalized glimpse into the amazing care and dedication of the hospital staff, and acted as living proof of what the donation money was going towards.

By the end of the night, the mini-marathon had raised $33,650 for kids at CHOA, far surpassing their original goal. The faces of the students involved and the families impacted when they saw the total for the first time were priceless. The hours of preparation and dancing had paid off, and the money was all for the kids.

“Being involved in Central Miracle was amazing,” Elizabeth Somsen, a member of Central’s executive committee, said sincerely. “The energy that every single person involved brought to the table was electric, and hearing from the CHOA families made what we were contributing to so real. I am endlessly thankful that we were able to help, in whatever small way, people right here in our own community.”

The families definitely felt the effect. “This was our first Children’s Miracle event we have attended. It was honoring, humbling, and healing to be a part of it,” said Alysa Sewell, one of the miracle family speakers. Three of her four children are deaf, and her oldest son, Jake, was diagnosed with Nodular Lymphocyte Predominant Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2012. “Meeting other families who know what it’s like to struggle through the procedures and hard days, but also to celebrate the triumphs and good days was wonderful. Everyone at the event was there to celebrate these kids and CHOA’s role in their journeys. It was just really great to see that.”

Central Miracle ran for 4 hours, compared to KSU Miracle’s full-length marathon which lasts for 12 hours and raised over $70,000 last year. The money raised at the mini-marathon will be combined with the total from this year’s KSU Miracle, hoping to reach $150,000.

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