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The Emmanuel College Dance Marathon (ECDM), a longstanding fundraiser towards Boston Children’s Hospital’s Every Child Fund, has a whole new look in 2023-2024.

For the first time, ECDM fundraising took place in the form of a 5K featuring over 60 participants at the end of March – and the campaign isn’t over yet. On Sunday, April 28th, ECDM is hosting a car show at Gametime Lanes and Entertainment from 9 AM to 12 PM in Amesbury, MA and in the meantime, supporters can still donate at this link until the conclusion of the show.

Despite the new format, the purpose behind the fundraising remains the same. Miracle Network Dance Marathon is a student-led philanthropic movement that raises funds for children’s hospitals within the network. For years, Emmanuel students have done their part in the event raising money for Boston Children’s Hospital, where those funds go on to support the Every Child Fund – providing meal vouchers, diapers, life-saving treatments and more to families who need it.

When she started at Emmanuel four years ago, Melanie Sachs ‘24, now Executive Director of the ECDM student board, already knew she wanted to get involved in the program.

Sachs had heard about the Dance Marathon movement from her older siblings who’d gotten involved at their own universities – and through one of her sisters who works at Boston Children’s, she’d seen the work between Emmanuel and the hospital on the cause too.

“It was one thing I knew I wanted to be a part of when I came to Emmanuel – [it] has a very big ECDM program, especially for a smaller school,” Sachs said.

Typically, Emmanuel’s fundraiser has been held on campus as a 12-hour overnight event and has had longstanding support in years past, but after the pandemic, ECDM’s board of students had been seeking out a way to re-engage the campus and community and continue building on all their work over the years – and the 5K idea was born.

Students participate in the ECDM 5K on March 24th. (Photo by Annabella Bourget '26)

Student organizers wanted to bring new enthusiasm to supporting Boston Children’s Hospital with the refreshed fundraising method, according to Isabella Harris ’26. 

Despite the weather on a cold Sunday morning this past March, the ECDM event did just that.

“There was a lot of positivity – even though it was so cold, you could feel the air was different, we were playing music, having a good time, we were there because we were celebrating such a good cause,” Harris said.

Following the 5K, the celebrations continued with a reception on Yosinoff Court. According to Susan Aguiar, co-advisor of ECDM, the 5K had raised over $13,000 with efforts still ongoing.

“[Our] students play a crucial role, not just in fundraising but on education about what Boston Children’s Hospital does, especially the Every Child Fund, so that others get excited about the fundraising too,” Aguiar said.

Now approaching graduation, Sachs said it was great for her to see this year’s events “click,” and see all the work come together at the reception.

“We had a patient family with us,” Sachs said, “and it was really nice to see that connection we have with Boston Children’s, where the money and fundraising is going [and] seeing that hands on impact of our work as a community and school.”

For Harris, who joined the ECDM board as a freshman hoping to give back to Boston Children’s for how it supported important people in her life, including her best friend, she is looking forward to seeing how the 5K can grow in the future and continue to engage with the Emmanuel community.

Isabella Harris '26 at the ECDM reception following the March 24th 5K. (Photo taken by Carlos Campos '27)

“The ECDM board came together and we did this… it was amazing and everybody should be proud of themselves for what we did,” Harris said.

There’s still time to donate – click here to support ECDM and the Boston Children’s Hospital’s Every Child Fund – and the full tally will be announced after April 28th.