Mercer student group raises over $68,000 for children’s hospital


A Mercer University student group has raised over $68,000 for the Beverly Knight Olson Children’s Hospital in Macon.  

This photo was posted to MU Miracle’s Instagram stories leading up to virtual Bearthon.

Typically, MU Miracle reveals the fundraising total at its annual Bearthon, an on-campus event where students get to meet families of patients treated at the hospital, participate in games and dance. 

“The purpose of the event is to celebrate the hospital staff, Miracle families and fundraising efforts of our participants,” said MU Miracle Executive Director Tara Chavda, a graduating senior majoring in biomedical engineering.  

But this year, the coronavirus pandemic forced a change of plans, and organizers canceled the Olympics-themed March 21 event in Penfield Hall. 

“The Miracle kids and families we fundraise for are at a considerably high risk of contracting the COVID-19 virus,” Chavda said. “We want to continue to help fund child-life programs, equipment and the many other ways our dollars help impact the lives of all individuals treated at Beverly Knight Olson Children’s Hospital.” 

On April 18, MU Miracle hosted Bearthon virtually. 

“We wanted to end this year together as a community fighting for our kids,” Chavda said. “Our hospital has not stopped treating patients and its daily operations. 

“We will stand alongside it while (the hospital) continues to provide the best care possible that our kids deserve.” 

Bearthon began with the virtual lighting of an Olympic torch graphic.

MU Miracle hosted the virtual event on its Facebook and Instagram pages and invited Bearthon participants, friends and family to it. The event began with opening ceremonies and the virtual lighting of an Olympic torch graphic. The group posted videos about patient families, interactive trivia questions using the stories feature, a workout by Pure Barre Macon and two fundraising challenges. 

The virtual event ended with a dance compilation video featuring everyone dancing together as they would have in Penfield Hall and the announcement of the fundraising total: $68,237.76. 

Fundraising events throughout the year included a back-to-school bash, silent auction, puppy kissing booth and more. 

MU Miracle is part of Miracle Network Dance Marathon, a nationwide movement benefiting Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.


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