MizzouThon students pledge $1.3 million to MU Women’s and Children’s Hospital

The money will be used for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and the hospital’s music therapy program.
MizzouThon announced a $1.3 million pledge to the Women's and Children's Hospital on Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018 in the MU student center.

Chancellor Alexander Cartwright announced MizzouThon’s new five-year pledge of $1.3 million to the Women’s and Children’s Hospital on Tuesday, Dec. 4.

MizzouThon is a Children’s Miracle Network Dance Marathon that started in 2008. Since then, the organization has raised over $1.6 million. According to Cartwright, it is the largest student-run philanthropy on campus. This past year was its 10-year anniversary and members raised over $300,000, allowing them to reach the last pledge amount of $1 million one year early.

The funds will be used to expand and renovate the neonatal intensive care unit and to support the music therapy program at the hospital.

Keri Simon, executive director of the Women’s and Children’s Hospital, spoke about the importance of music therapy for children in the hospital.

“Being in the hospital can be a very difficult experience, especially for children,” Simon said. “Music can be a very powerful tool. Music therapy provides a way for children to explore and express their emotions and experiences while in the hospital.”

She said music therapy also benefits children by allowing them to connect with others, it helps them improve coping during difficult procedures, when dealing with illness or injury and manage pain. Simon also said that music therapy also helps babies in the NICU to improve their feeding through their use of rhythm.

Part of the funds will also go toward renovating and expanding the NICU. It will be expanded from a 36-bed unit to a 48-bed unit, including 20 private, critical care rooms, according to John Pardalos, chief of the hospital’s NICU.

“I have had the opportunity to attend three of the dance marathons over the years and I have been impressed by the compassion and love the students have shown my former patients,” Pardalos said. “Your organization truly makes them feel special and for that I want to thank you. For many of the students involved with MizzouThon, they are giving the NICU the resources it needs to help the children of their own families, friends and neighbors.”

Brittani Langland, MU senior and executive director of MizzouThon, has formed a bond with the Miracle Kids.

“We have 26 Miracle Kids that we work with,” Langland said. “We support them emotionally, we go to their birthday parties and other events and we hang out with them all the time. A lot of them graduated from the MizzouThon NICU and actually used the services we fund. They are some of the best kids I have ever met.”

Langland plans to continue to support MizzouThon’s efforts after she graduates.

“I’ll always be supportive of MizzouThon even as an alumni,” Langland said. “[My support] doesn’t end on graduation day. I’ll always be here for these kids.”

Edited by Morgan Smith | mosmith@themaneater.com

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