McDance-a-Thon hosts annual fundraising dance

Popular club hosts annual event for children’s hospitals

McDance-a-Thon members gathered in the school gym today to celebrate the end of their annual fundraiser, which earned $58,107.79 this year.

Over three hundred students at McLean have been working tirelessly over the course of the school year to raise money for the club, a branch of the Children’s Network which aims to raise money for children’s hospitals around America.

“[McLean students] impact Children’s National in so many ways, one of which is through helping spread awareness and raising money, as well as sharing the stories [of child patients],” said Kelly McGready, a part of the Children’s Miracle Network team. “They’re helping to provide support in areas like patient care, such as our programs like Child Life, patient experiences, like our healing garden secret studios, [in addition to] helping fund discoveries through research and also helping fund uncompensated care.”

Each year, the club throws a dance to celebrate their final donations. Students are asked to stand for the duration of the dance, seven hours, to represent the children in the hospitals who cannot.

“It’s really selfless that [students] are volunteering their time, through a year-long effort of planning all the meetings that go into this and fundraisers throughout the year,” McGready said.

Due to COVID-19, the club did not host an in-person celebration and was forced to celebrate their final donations over online ceremonies. Donations in 2021 also reversed a trend of increasing revenue; the club generated $33,496.29 in 2021, down from $61,986.99 in 2020.

“This is the first time we’ve had the dance since 2019,” senior morale head Atticus Gore said. “So it’s been a really long time. We needed to focus on emulating the energy of past dances.”

The dance kicked off with a brief, informative video on the history of the Children’s Miracle Network and how they aid children’s hospitals across the country. A representative from the Network, Kelly McCready, then spoke to the students participating in the dance.

“We can all come together through our own separate events, but then also find ways where we can collaborate and come together towards all Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals,” McCready said.

Following the speech, music started blaring from the speakers. Members of the club gathered in groups surrounding a DJ table dancing and screaming to popular music, decked out in colorful glow stick jewelry and painted hand prints covering their legs and arms.
“I had a lot of fun learning the dances from Atticus. My favorite part was when we did The Wobble,” freshman Hailey Simpson said.

Throughout the year, members of the club were required to raise a minimum of $75, and they turned to friends and family members to donate to the cause.  This year, club leaders hoped to increase this final number.

“The fundraising [at the dance] is one last push for donations,” Donoghue said. “All the videos that we’re showing tonight are children who have been directly impacted by the funds that we raise, and they’ve received money from several other dance marathons for treatments that they wouldn’t have been able to afford.”

The club is also one of the largest at Mclean and has continually grown in size over the course of multiple school years.

“Since I first started sponsoring the club, we had about 150 members,” said Bridget Donoghue, English teacher and club sponsor. “So far, the club has doubled in size to about 300 members.”

Throughout the dance, positive energy from eager McLean students encapsulated every aspect of the night, from hourly fundraisers to group dances and hype circles.

“[Students] are helping to make sure that families receive the care that they deserve,” McCready said. “It is so impactful to see how, as a group, we’re capable of making a difference.”