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RebelTHON to Hit the Dance Floor Feb. 20

Archive Photo: University of Mississippi students enjoy dancing during the 2020 RebelTHON event in Tad Smith Coliseum. This year’s dance marathon is set for noon to midnight Fed. 20 in the Ole Miss Student Union. Submitted photo

Time to pull out those dancing shoes – RebelTHON 2021 will go on.

The University of Mississippi’s annual student-driven dance marathon to raise funds for Children’s of Mississippi, which includes the Blair E. Batson Children’s Hospital at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, is set for noon to midnight Feb. 20 in the Gertrude C. Ford Ole Miss Student Union. 

The slogan for this year’s event is “We Are Still Dancing.”

“We are extremely excited to move the dance marathon to the Gertrude C. Ford Ole Miss Student Union,” said Will Takewell, associate director for student leadership and engagement. “We have previously held the event in the Tad Pad, but have worked with our OMSU administrative team to get the event moved into the center of campus to not only have an easier way of monitoring COVID-19 compliance, but to also be more accessible to our student body. 

“We want people to feel invested in RebelTHON and see the impact that fundraising and support can have on such a worthwhile cause.”

This year, rather than set a specific fundraising goal, sponsors have been focused on strengthening their cause connection.

“We want participants to feel connected to the hospital and recognize the importance of their contribution,” said Emily Bozich, UM graduate assistant and RebelTHON coordinator. “It is our goal to provide students with the opportunity to still feel involved and still get to partake in something incredibly meaningful.”

RebelTHON will use the entire third floor, including the Union Ballroom and the large meeting spaces that face the Grove. Participants are expected to strictly follow the university’s COVID-19 safety regulations, which include wearing face masks, social distancing, hand sanitizing and limited capacities.

Over 10 years of fundraising and nine dance marathons, Ole Miss students have supported the mission of the state’s only children’s hospital through RebelTHON donations, which have funded the hospital’s AirCare Flight Team and helped upgrade patient and family areas, among other areas of impact.

Some 600 participants are expected to turn out for this year’s event. To help manage the number of participants, the marathon will be staged in four three-hour shifts.

“Each shift will essentially be a mini-marathon,” Bozich said. “During this time, individuals will get to participate in a variety of COVID-friendly activities. There will be live entertainment, stories from Miracle Families, fundraising activities, games and, of course, plenty of socially distant dancing.”

More than $750,000 has been raised over the past four years, contributing to the new Kathy and Joe Sanderson Tower at UMMC, which opened in October 2020. The student donations from RebelTHON have made a significant dent in the cost of the pediatric care facility.

To register for RebelTHON 2021, click here.

By Edwin B. Smith

Adam Brown
Adam Brown
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