Passion; the thing that gets you through life with a smile on your face. Some are passionate about sports, some are passionate about helping the community, and others, like Lindsay Freeman, are passionate about making a difference.
Freeman, a junior at Auburn, has been involved with the Auburn University Dance Marathon (AUDM) for the three years she has attended the school. According to the official AUDM website, the event is a “year-long, campus-wide fundraising effort that culminates in a 14-hour Dance Marathon to celebrate the money and awareness raised for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.” The money raised from the event benefit’s the Children’s Hospital at Midtown Medical Center at Columbus Regional Health.
As an AUDM staff member serving as assistant director of finance for her sorority, Freeman encourages chapter members to join the team and participating in the fundraising and event. “Last year we had about 50 girls on our team,” says Freeman. According to Freeman, fundraising can include asking for donations via social media, direct contact, letters, canning downtown or in class, searching for sponsorships, Venmo requests, and more. Freeman’s annual fundraising efforts have grown significantly each year, already raising over $700 of her $1,000 goal.
The activities that take place during Dance Marathon differ each year, with performances by different artists, appearances by the Auburn University Cheerleaders and Aubie, Kid Zone play areas where you can color and play games with the kids, and so much more. Freeman’s favorite parts of the 14-hour long event are coming together with everyone to perform a line dance and hearing each Miracle family’s story.
Being a part of Dance Marathon is important to Freeman because cancer hits close to home for the Florida native. “My mother had breast cancer twice so I understand what it is like to have a family member spend a lot of time in the hospital and in recovery during treatments. I also used to volunteer at a place in Orlando called Give Kids the World, which is a resort for families with kids who have life-threatening illnesses. This is where I developed my passion for helping sick children in any way I can,” says Freeman.
Last year, AUDM raised $541,832 and has raised a total of $1,571,809 over the past six years. Seeing the reveal of the money raised at the end of the main event after months of fundraising is one of the most rewarding feelings Freeman and thousands of other attendees experience. “At the very end of the night, the final amount raised for the year is announced in what we call ‘goal reveal’ which is absolutely amazing – everyone cries.”
Although Freeman will graduate from Auburn in the fall of 2018 and won’t be able to participate in the event next year, she says that she plans on donating and continuing to be involved in whatever way possible as an alumna. One thing is certain; Freeman has done everything in her power to make life easier For The Kids the past three years.
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