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Forever to Thee Kids

Today, Jan. 30, the USC Dance Marathon team is working to raise $119,000 in 24 hours. It's just one part of a year-long journey that includes more love and hard work than can be put into words, and joy that is perhaps better seen than read. Just look.

Lila Mozingo is a Miracle Kid, one of so many helped by the staff at Prisma Health Children's Hospital — Midlands (formerly known as Palmetto Health Children's Hospital). She has struggled with severe health problems literally since the moment she was born with a hole in her heart.

Things have not been easy for Lila and her family, but look at her face. She's on the stage at USC Dance Marathon's Main Event, with more than a thousand college students cheering for her as she runs along giving high fives like the rock star she is. Her joy is unmistakable, and it's the same joy you see on the faces of all the Miracle Kids and their families... and on the faces of the students who give so much for them.

This was the climactic moment of the 2018 Main Event: the moment we all learned that the DM team had broken the million dollar barrier for the first time ever. Again, just pure joy.

USCDM is a student-run organization, made up entirely of volunteers. There are no faculty supervisors giving orders. The students make every decision, and do every bit of the work. Main Event is just the culmination, and as soon as it ends, planning for the next year begins.

These young men and women, members of a generation so often called lazy and apathetic by ignorant people, are just the opposite. Many of them put more hours into this than most people do into paying jobs. They also run a nonprofit that has grown by leaps and bounds, and now involves more than 2,000 students each year.

The list of what they do for the kids is far longer than this story will be. They raise money, but they also get to know the Miracle Kids. They plan events for the kids and their families. They spend time at the hospital. They go to birthday parties. They babysit. Lila Mozingo was the flower girl in the wedding of two DM alumni.

Those alumni never really leave the team. Today, the effort to raise $119,0000 will be centered in Columbia, but boosted from all over the world as former students call on their families and friends and co-workers to give. Every moment, every smile, every tear, and every penny is for the kids.

You'll hear a lot more about Dance Marathon from us over the next month. Today is just a stepping stone along the journey. In the meantime, please help if you can. Every donation counts. Every donation, however large or small, helps bring joy to a child. What better use for your money could you find.

We also know that Columbia, the entire community, plays a big role in making USCDM's accomplishments possible. For all you have done, all you're doing, and all you will do, we thank you.

For love, for hope, and always for the kids.

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