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Meet a Change Maker: Lillia Pogue from Valpo Dance Marathon

This post was written by Lillia Pogue, who serves as the Overall Director for Valpo Dance Marathon at Valparaiso University for the upcoming academic year. 


Hi everyone! My name is Lillia Pogue and I am serving as the 2021 Overall Director for the Valparaiso University Dance Marathon program. This will be my fourth-year fundraising for Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and participating in Valparaiso University’s Dance Marathon! In the previous three years, I have participated as a dancer, a Morale Team Member, and as the Director of Public Relations.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Valparaiso University moved to online learning for the spring semester of 2020. Therefore, almost every program during the spring semester was forced to cancel their events. Valpo DM did not let this get in our way, as we strived to carry on the Children’s Miracle Network message of putting the children first. The Valpo DM family served as the beacon of hope for our campus and provided a bit of normalcy to our community during such unprecedented and uncertain times.

As Director of Public Relations during this time, my responsibilities increased drastically as our program made the decision to transform our 500+ person, 12-hour event into a 4-hour virtual experience for our participants. In just a few weeks, Valparaiso University hosted our first ever Virtual Dance Marathon, and our 8th annual event supporting Lurie Children’s. We were dedicated to continuing as many Dance Marathon traditions as possible, including hearing powerful messages from Miracle Families, exciting Color Wars events, engaging fundraising efforts, and of course, learning the 2020 Morale Dance! All of this content had to be reimagined to fit a virtual setting, and then efficiently designed within a matter of two weeks. The Valpo DM team worked tirelessly to ensure that our community was engaged in supporting the cause so close to all of our hearts.

On April 4, 2020, Valparaiso University Dance Marathon fundraised $56,731.08 in total with 522 dancers, all #ForTheKids!

Valpo DM 2020 Virtual Event Total Reveal

At my very first Dance Marathon in 2018, I was in awe at the amazing things that are at work through this movement. Not only do all of the participants get the opportunity to meet with Miracle Children and their families, but those patients and families get to look out into a crowd of over 500 people and see that they never are fighting alone. I DM so that every child knows that they are supported, in the hopes that it can inspire them to continue fighting their courageous fight.

Valpo DM Miracle Kids, Gia and Charlie
Valpo DM Miracle Kids, Gia and Charlie

My advice to everyone fundraising is to lead with your ‘why’. No matter how much money one is able to raise, a little change makes a big change #ForTheKids, and that is always what matters most. My best fundraising tip is to become inspired by the miracles happening in these families’ lives and use that passion to spread the message of hope to everyone around you. This is such an exciting cause to serve, and when others see your own passion and excitement, it will spread like wildfire.