When Matt Ayotte’s daughter was born at N.C. Children’s Hospital 11 years ago, she weighed 1 pound, 5 ounces — nearly the size of a Coke bottle.
She was born 15 weeks early and had many complex medical issues.
“She spent 107 days there,” Ayotte said. “She was one of their miracle babies.”
He said while going through the trauma of having a child in the hospital, the smaller acts of kindness he and other parents received — such as a “parents’ night out” and a bilingual social worker — had a huge impact.
He didn’t know at the time, but those gifts came from the money raised by UNC Dance Marathon.
“It seemed like magic, like a little angel giving us these gifts,” Ayotte said.
Starting today at 7:30 p.m., students will stand on their feet for 24 hours straight to raise money for more of those gifts to be given to families with children being treated at the N.C. Children’s Hospital.
“Standing for 24 hours is symbolic of our support and shows that we are rooting for them,” said Molly Sutherland, publicity chairwoman for the event.
She said Dance Marathon is the largest nonprofit student organization on campus, and the money raised goes to 11 different grants for the N.C. Children’s Hospital.
“Generally, all of our money goes to benefit the patients and families in ways that insurance can’t,” Sutherland said.