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Come and Join the Dance

by Allen Wallace

Grace Chadwick on stage at Main Event 2018 with Ellington and Emerson Hewitt

Saturday, a year of work for USC Dance Marathon (USCDM) reaches its climax with the organization’s annual Main Event, and the reveal of the fundraising total which will go to Prisma Health Children’s Hospital (formerly known as Palmetto Health).

The goal: $1,190,000, with the 119 representing the number of beds at the hospital. All year long, through every planning meeting, every fundraiser, every time through the iconic line dance, everything the USCDM students do is for the kids.

Grace Chadwick understands why the cause means so much as well as anyone. A senior this year, Chadwick has spent all four years with USCDM serving the student organization’s Family Relations branch, as a committee member, director, and now as vice president (of Community Relations, which includes that branch).

“I have been able to develop relationships with our Miracle Families,” Chadwick said. “This has been an incredible experience because I have been able to watch all of our kiddos grow up and achieve major life milestones, whether at school, with their families, or with their treatment at PHCH.”

For Chadwick and the rest of the USCDM team, the connection is personal, going far beyond just the planned events which include the kids and their families. The students babysit for Miracle Families. They go to birthday parties. They invite the families to their weddings, and Miracle Kids have served as flower girls more than once for USCDM alumni.

“USCDM not only raises money for our children's hospital, we also try to make as many memories for our kids and their families as we can,” Chadwick said. “Donating to our program means so much more than any dollar amount that is given.”

Recently, two Miracle Kids, Braden Green and Zoe Tipping, both big USC basketball fans, were guests of honor at a men's game against Ole Miss. Through a partnership between USCDM and USC Athletics, they both able to led the band in the university fight song, participated in the t-shirt toss, and had front row seats for the entire game.

Grace Chadwick and Zoe Tipping at the recent USC basketball game where Zoe was a star

“It’s moments like these that our USCDM team works for to make lifelong memories for our PHCH families,” Chadwick said. “I am humbled to know each of their stories and to have been able to support their families over the past few years. I know that these relationships will continue past my time as a USCDM student, and for that I am forever grateful.”

Many of the Miracle Families will join the USCDM team Saturday for Main Event and share their stories. Alumni will also come from all over the country to stand and dance with this year’s students, because as Chadwick said, the passion for the cause does not stop with graduation.

Every dollar counts as USCDM works to hit the goal of $1,190,000 for the kids. Visit Grace Chadwick’s fundraising page for more on her story and to donate.

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