When Patrick Smith ’19 was a first year student at the College of Charleston, he walked into his first Dance Marathon as an a cappella performer, and his collegiate trajectory was forever changed.

“When I found out about the Dance Marathon movement,” Smith says, “I had immense feelings of awe, curiousness and clarity. I  found that my true happiness and satisfaction comes from the success and health of others; I realized that Dance Marathon aligned directly with this passion and that I wanted to join Charleston Miracle.”

Charleston Miracle, the College of Charleston’s Dance Marathon organization, raises money for the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital.

“I joined this fight so that I can be the helping hand for those who need it, the listening ear to families who are struggling, and the educating voice to spread the stories and legacies of these patients and their families,” says Smith.

Smith, who majored in biology, served as the executive director for Charleston Miracle for the 2018-19 academic year and was recently among 20 college students selected to receive the 2019 Miracle Network Dance Marathon Distinguished Leader Award for making an exceptional impact within their Dance Marathon program, on their campus and for their local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital. Under Smith’s leadership, Charleston Miracle raised $142,804 in 2019 for the MUSC children’s hospital.

RELATED: Read Smith’s Q&A with the Miracle Network about his work with Dance Marathon.

“Charleston Miracle gave me the opportunity to leave a lasting impact on the community that gave me so much,” says Smith, who plans to attend medical school to become a pediatrician. “This organization allowed me to remain centered around my core passions and aspirations, and I am so lucky to have been a part of this movement during my time at CofC.”

The collective efforts of Miracle Network Dance Marathon events have raised nearly $250 million since 1991 for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, a nonprofit organization that raises funds and awareness for 170 pediatric hospitals across North America. Each year, hundreds of thousands of student-dancers participate in fundraising and awareness activities at approximately 400 colleges, universities and K-12 schools across the U.S. and Canada.

Since 2007, Charleston Miracle has raised over $882,000 for the MUSC children’s hospital.

Featured image: Patrick Smith, center, was recently awarded the 2019 Miracle Network Dance Marathon Distinguished Leader Award.