Dance Marathon a ‘personal’ event for student

Alfredo Brown is 21 years old.

Per tradition, the total raised at Dance Marathon is announced at the end of the event. More than $60,000 was raised in 2012.

He’s a sports management senior at FIU, and the president of Pi Kappa Phi. Today, he is a healthy young man, but he once was known as a Miracle Child.

He was born three months premature, and among the problems he faced were a class 1 brain bleed, a small hole in his heart and underdeveloped lungs.

“My mother had to deal with all the pains and stresses of birth complications and with hospital bills,” he says. “It’s a terrible process and a miserable experience for any parent to have to go through.”

“Once I was able, I had to work,” his mother, Martha Brown, remembers. “But my employer and the hospital made it very easy for me to spend time with Alfredo every day.”

“That’s why I participate in FIU’s Dance Marathon every chance I get,” Alfredo says. “If we can save lives and help families, it’s all worth it.”

The “all” he is referring to is more than just the 25 straight hours he danced alongside more than 300 other participants at the 15th annual Dance Marathon, the largest student philanthropy at FIU. He also means the months of organization and planning and, of course, fundraising on campus and at home. It all culminated Jan. 28-29 at Modesto A. Maidique Campus’ Recreation Center, with almost $61,000 in cash donations raised so far.

This year, Alfredo participated as director of morale, helping to manage the event. He also has had the chance to speak with families who benefit from the event through Children’s Miracle Network. During his first marathon, he was a dancer, then rose through the ranks to become morale captain in his second year.

“Dance Marathon is personal for me,” he says. “It’s about making a difference in someone’s life. My favorite part of the event is the end of the marathon when we announce the total we’ve raised with the parents and their Miracle Children.”

The one thing he’s looking forward to the most in years to come? More dancers.

“We had the most-ever dancers this year,” he says. “We’ve done so much in such a short period of time here at FIU, but we have a long way to go. I know we’ll keep getting bigger and better and become an example across the nation.”

Donations to 2012 Dance Marathon are still being accepted through this site. Funds raised benefit the Miami Children’s Hospital Foundation through the Children’s Miracle Network.

– With reporting by Christian Williams