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Fort Dale Academy Dance Marathon Saturday

It’s not too late to help one local school in the fight against childhood illnesses.

Fort Dale Academy’s ECHO (Experiencing Community by Helping Others) organization will host its inaugural FDA Dance Marathon this Saturday, Feb. 1, in the school’s gymnasium. According to FDA teacher and ECHO sponsor Holland Luckie, who founded the service organization as a senior at FDA in 2015, the Butler County private school is the first in the state to host such an event.

“I was involved and on leadership at RebelTHON at Ole Miss as a student,” Luckie said. “Nationwide there are more than 400 Dance Marathon chapters and 200,000 student participants. In 2019, these events nationwide raised more than $44 million for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Dance Marathon is a national organization. Four state colleges – Alabama, Auburn, South Alabama and UAB – currently host an event, but we are the first high school program in the state to host one.”

According to its website, Miracle Network Dance Marathon is a movement uniting college, university and high school students across North America. Students involved in a campus’ dance marathon organization spend a year gaining leadership, teamwork and non-profit business experience while raising funds and awareness for their local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital. The year culminates with an 8-to-40-hour event (the dance marathon) on each campus where students get to meet patient families treated at their local hospital, participate in games and dancing, enjoy entertainment and reveal their annual fundraising total.

According to Luckie, more than 60 seventh- through twelfth-grade students have registered for the full-day event in Greenville, which begins at 8 a.m. and concludes at 8 p.m.

“The hospital has sent us a series of videos of children’s stories that the students will watch at the top of every hour, along with flyers on current patients that the students can read about throughout the event,” she said. “We are hoping for additional students, parents and community members to join us during the community hours.”

As for goals, Luckie is hoping the first-time event can raise $1,000.

“The money we raise all goes directly to Children’s of Alabama, which is our Children’s Miracle Network Hospital,” she said. “We reveal our fundraising total at the end of the event.”

This year, sponsorships from businesses, family members and community members are being accepted. The students must stay standing or dancing in solidarity with the doctors, nurses and parents that stand for 12-plus hours a day. The motto is that we dance for those that can’t, and that we are one generation fighting for the next.

If you would like to donate, you can email Luckie at hluckie@fortdale.com or come to the community hours from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. Admission will be $5 at the door and a table for donations will also be setup.

Sponsorship options include, Platinum, $250 and above; Gold, $150; Silver, $100; Bronze, $75; Champion, $50, and Friend, $25.