By Sidney Nimmons

CLEMSON — Clemson University Dance Marathon (CUDM) was honored by the national Children’s Miracle Network with the Ryan White Award for Overcoming Adversity, one of the organization’s highest honors.

Finance chairman Jeremy DiGorio and director of marketing Merry Mac Miller accepted the award at the Children’s Miracle Network's Dance Marathon Conference in Washington, D.C.

In March the group hosted a dance event that lasted 13.1 hours and raised more than $23,000 for local children’s programs.

The 2010 marathon had 375 students on 20 teams particpating, and its 50 committee members partnered with 28 campus organizations, five radio stations and 10 families to make the philanthropic goal a success. The average fundraising for a new dance marathon is around $12,000. With the event raising almost double that amount, Clemson University’s Dance Marathon won the title of most successful new event of 2010.

The 2009 marathon was canceled, so the group also entered for “Most Improved” Dance Marathon. After that, its executive board restructured the organization’s membership and event-planning strategy. It also increased community involvement and now keeps a running list of donors for future marathons.

“This award marks a proud moment for me in CUDM history. I have had the opportunity to work with a great group of people who work hard to make miracles happen within (Greenville Hospital System) Children's Hospital. Receiving this award means that Children's Miracle Network saw the efforts of our team last year and were appreciative. That makes me proud to lead this wonderful team,” said Jesse Winchester, executive director of Clemson University Dance Marathon for 2010-11.

“The fact that our cause is local and that every penny goes directly to children within the Greenville Children’s Hospital system makes our event unique and our cause real. Whether you give, dance, support or entertain, being a part of Dance Marathon changes a piece of who you are forever,” said Miller.

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