A student-run program on MU’s campus met a large fundraising goal a year early. In 2014, MizzouThon made a five-year pledge to raise $1 million for the neonatal intensive care unit at MU Women’s and Children’s Hospital. On Saturday during MizzouThon’s 13 hour dance marathon, the program met that goal one year early after raising over $300,000.
“Because of the fact that we are seeing babies that are born earlier or they’re born sicker, and we have about 500 transports that come from other hospitals to our hospital every year, we need to have an expansion of our NICU. So this money is a huge help to that,” says Kristen Fritschie, coordinator of Children’s Miracle Network at MU Women’s and Children’s Hospital.
MizzouThon’s Vice President of Marketing Ann Marie Metzendorf says members of the organization work closely with the hospital to decide where the money goes. She says the student participants really have a passion for giving back to the community.
“What we’re fighting for, and what these students are fighting for are giving these kids a chance to be a kid…and not have to worry about their next procedure and not have to worry about being stuck in the hospital for weeks on end while their classmates are out doing the things that kids should be doing,” Metzendorf says.
In 2014, the hospital’s unit expanded from 38 beds to 48. Fritschie says the space has consistently been at capacity, so an expansion is necessary. MizzouThon is currently working with the hospital to determine a plan for more fundraising, since the goal was met a year early.