Unmet goal still a win for sick kids

Feb. 23, 2013 @ 02:37 PM

In the end, what matters isn’t that the 15th Annual UNC Dance Marathon didn’t raise as much money for North Carolina Children’s Hospital as organizers had hoped.

They wanted to pull in $500,000. The 1,600 dancers in Fetzer Hall over the weekend managed to raise $430,181.68.

That’s not chump change.

Thanks to the students who gave their time and energy to the 24-hour marathon, those funds support a top-notch hospital that treats tens of thousands of children from all over the state for trauma, cystic fibrosis, hemophilia, sickle cell disease, cancer and heart disease.

The hospital helps children like Asheton Ayette, now 11, who was born 15 weeks premature. As The Herald-Sun’s Beth Velliquette reported Sunday, the little girl weighed less than a pound and a half and was just 11 inches long at birth. She spent 107 days in the hospital, and sometimes it was touch and go.

But during this dance marathon, for which she personally raised some money, Asheton served as a kid co-captain. She was an ever-present reminder to the weariest dancer that no matter how tough they think they might have it, others suffer and need support.

“You push yourself to the limit and you realize how the kids have to push themselves to the limit every single day,” said dancer Scott Nelson.

Asheton’s father, Matthew Ayotte, described the marathon as astounding, “such a remarkable effort.”

In the end, it’s that astounding effort that matters. It means so much more than any arbitrary fiscal goal set for the dance marathon.

The participants should hold their heads high, as much as they can while soaking their feet in Epsom salts.

Every sore muscle, every cramp, every blister – these students deserve to claim those (and every dollar raised for the hospital) as badges of honor for their heartfelt deed.