by Natalie Rand

Over the past 11 years, Dance Marathon at the College of Charleston has raised more than half of a million dollars for the Medical University of South Carolina Children’s Hospital (MUSC). While the organization will continue to raise money through its signature dance event, a recent name change to Charleston Miracle is intended to boost fundraising and help refocus the organization’s mission.

“We wanted to take a risk and try this rebranding, and come up with a really solid name that the entire community of the College of Charleston can get behind,” says Bret Koch, program coordinator for the Higdon Student Leadership Center.

Annie Simpson, executive director of Charleston Miracle and a senior at the College, collaborated with Koch to put a new face on the organization in hopes of renewing interest from potential donors, sponsors and student participants.

Rendering of the Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital.

As a part of the rebranding effort, the annual dance event that serves as the fundraising finale each year has been renamed CougarThon. This year’s goal is to raise $50,000 for the construction of MUSC’s new Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital. If this goal is reached, the hospital will honor Charleston Miracle’s dedication by naming one of its rooms after the organization.

“It would just be an honor to have the College represented at this new hospital and to show that we’ve been fundraising for nine years prior and now we actually get to put our name on something,” says Simpson. “It will help bring our organization to life and show that we are actually making a difference.”

Like the original Dance Marathon, CougarThon will feature stories of patients and families who have been positively impacted by Charleston Miracle’s initiatives, which Simpson says is a great way to demonstrate the difference being made in children’s lives.

All students are encouraged to participate in CougarThon, which can be done by registering on the miracle network website.

CougarThon will take place on March 10, 2018, in TD Arena. The registration fee is $15, and the cost includes music from SondorBlue, White Hall, and DJ Sparkboxx, three free meals, t-shirts, and games and activities throughout the day with a chance to win prizes.