California State University, Fullerton Senior Receives 2017 Miracle Network Dance Marathon Distinguished Leadership Award

From the thousands of graduating seniors who have participated in Miracle Network Dance Marathon at the approximately 300 colleges and universities across the U.S. and Canada, twenty students were selected to receive the 2017 Miracle Network Dance Marathon Distinguished Leadership Award for making an exceptional impact within their Dance Marathon program, on their individual campus and for their local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital. To see all of this year’s recipients, click here

 

Dance Marathon Involvement: In 2015‐2016 I served as TitanTHON’s Overall Publicity Chair. It was during this time that I oversaw the Social Media Chair and the Graphic Design Chair roles. I also secured publicity item donations and connected with publicity platforms on campus and within the community. Our followers increased on all three major social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) by at least 110%. In our third year as a program, our publicity team of three people were chosen to present about our practices at our regional retreat in Fall 2015, held at CHOC Children’s, with other California dance marathon’s in attendance. We raised just over $30,000 this year.

In 2016-­2017 I served as the Overall Director of TitanTHON, and added four new positions to lead a 26‐person Executive Board. During the summer of 2016 I was chosen to speak at Dance Marathon Leadership Conference (DMLC) in front of all attendees for a Marathon Moment speech. This was a huge honor for me, and a humbling moment. I feel like I could speak for much longer than this small text box allows about all of the things I am proud of about TitanTHON this past year. Our numbers truly showed our success. Our goal was to raise $51,000, and on March 3rd, 2017 we revealed over $54,000 raised and about $11,000 was raised during that day. Approximately $7,000 came from in­‐event fundraising during the six‐hour dance marathon; this was a huge jump from the $1,000 raised in‐event the year before.

Wilbur speaking on stage at TitonTHON’s 2017 Dance Marathon event.

Campus/Community Involvement:

Gamma Phi Beta International Sorority: Member (2013‐Present); Philanthropy Chairperson (January 2016‐ January 2017)

Order of Omega Honors Society: Member (August 2014‐Present)

Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA): Member (August 2013‐Present)

Community Service Inter‐Club Council: Representative (August 2016‐Present)

Awards/Recognition:

Dean’s List at CSU, Fullerton

Published on The Philanthropist with Half United

Community Engagement Medal from Community Service Office at CSU, Fullerton

Post-Graduation Plans: I am currently applying to public relations agencies and non-­‐profits who have public relations roles open in the Southern California area. I hope to continually give back to others, because that is when I truly am happiest. The agencies I am applying to still serve companies with a larger purpose.

Why do you, personally, participate in Dance Marathon?

In second grade I was diagnosed with a spontaneous brain hemorrhage. That morning, I walked down the hallway of our home with one hand on my head and the other on the wall as I guided myself down the hallway. My mom still says she remembers my temperature increasing and my pain level staying the same after giving me medicine. After visiting my local pediatrician in my very small hometown in Central California, I was quickly referred to our local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital an hour away, Valley Children’s. This is where I was diagnosed with the spontaneous brain hemorrhage and stayed for two weeks. It was during this time that normal blood work was done, MRI’s and CAT scans were taken, and I was given a temporary shunt. I received MRI’s on a yearly basis after that up until I was 15 years old, to ensure that there wasn’t any further brain damage. Our lives changed very rapidly during these two weeks at Valley Children’s. I don’t remember from the visit, but it still fills my parents’ eyes with tears when it comes up in conversation with others. I’m thankful that I was given the opportunity to exit the hospital and, a month later, continue to lead a normal second graders life. Likewise, I love that Dance Marathon gives me the ability to contribute to kids who are fighting their own battle.

Wilbur during her treatment at Valley Children’s with her younger sister, Grace.

What personal accomplishment/contribution are you most proud of from your involvement in Dance Marathon?

One of the most humbling moments from serving as Overall Director for TitanTHON this past year was having the opportunity to share our best publicity practices at a Dance Marathon Leadership Conference (DMLC) Marathon Moment. I served as Overall Publicity Chair the year before, and I was ecstatic to talk about all of growth we had made as a program because of social media campaigns I implemented. Graphics my team designed, our social media calendar, and the overall success of our communication with our followers are topics I still get emailed about from other Dance Marathons looking for tips and tricks. I also spoke about similar topics at the Dance Marathon Regional Retreat in Fall 2015. My overall work ethic and drive to exceed all expectations as Overall Director is what I’m most proud of this past year. At the beginning of the school year, I made an Executive Board Contract. At the top it read, “Because I said I would…” based on the moving YouTube video, “Because I said I would.” It listed five general requirements with a blank space at the bottom. This is where I filled in, “…I promise to give 110% to TitanTHON and lead our team to do everything we can to grow the program I love so much.” After this, I had everyone on the Exec Board write letters to themselves to open after TitanTHON’s reveal, and before we started cleaning up the event. On March 4  at 1 a.m., I was brought to tears (again) after reading the letter than my passionate self had written to my future self. I was exhausted. Completely worn down. But, I had realized that I had just completed the best form of leadership and selflessness I had ever exhibited. I felt most proud that I had added four vital Executive Board positions, added three on-­‐campus events to the program, and had made so many other “firsts.”

How has Dance Marathon impacted you as a student leader? What specific skills have you developed during your involvement?

I have been involved five other organizations on campus and have held leadership positions in two of them; one of them was even in event planning. But no other experience has made as much of a personal or professional difference in my life. The life skills that I learned as Overall Director cannot be taught or duplicated in a classroom setting. I quickly became in constant communication with departments on campus that most students would not even know that we have. I’ve networked with Presidents of other clubs and organizations to build partnerships and comradely; this was important because our school of 40,000 students sometimes lacks a sense of spirit that other schools exhibit.

Why should students get involved with Miracle Network Dance Marathon on their campus?

Dance Marathon is one of the only times on our campus, and so many other campuses, that students step through a door and can wholeheartedly be a part of something bigger than themselves. Students can be at any stage in their life and have gone through any sort of experience, but can all be put on the playing field when at Dance Marathon. The value of their dollar through registering and donating is truly put in perspective when they come to dance marathon and hear the Miracle Kids incredible stories. Fundraising makes students aware that the power of taking the first step and simply “asking” often times results in the realization that people are extremely kind. I was blown away by my donor’s generosity. I was able to raise just over $4,000 alone this past year. Anyone who has gone to a Dance Marathon has always wanted to come back the next year-­‐ it’s the one event that never gets a bad review!

Why should people donate to their local Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals?

Donating to a Children’s Miracle Network Hospital truly means putting your money where the miracles are. I loved this campaign because it truly exemplified the bottom line of why people should donate. I was once I child, and would eventually like to have children. No matter what age range you fall under, you’d like to hope that your local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital is financially supported and fully equipped for any task. Unfortunately, one of my future children may have to be treated at a Children’s Miracle Network Hospital (though I hope not), and when/if they do; I’d hope that a lack of funds wouldn’t be the reason why treatment cannot be given.

TitanTHON student leaders with their 2017 fundraising total.

 


Miracle Network Dance Marathon is an international movement, involving over 300 colleges and universities across North America that fundraise for their local Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Since its inception in 1991, Miracle Network Dance Marathon has raised more than $180 million–ensuring that no child or family fights pediatric illness or injury alone.

Learn more about Miracle Network Dance Marathon:

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