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Fundraiser for Children's Miracle Network hospital had most donations in 12-year history
With 1,115 participants, the 12th annual student-driven dance marathon raised $272,616.

RebelTHON 2024 reached a new record for the total money raised during its 12-hour run Saturday (Feb. 24).

With 1,115 participants, the University of Mississippi‘s 12th annual student-driven dance marathon raised $272,616 for the Children’s Miracle Network hospital at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. The previous record was $265,912 in 2018.

“We by far exceeded our goal,” said Ashley Myers, a senior exercise science major from Raymond who serves as RebelTHON president. “Our overall theme was ‘School House Rocks,’ because our fundraising efforts are going toward a school center in the hospital.”

Myers said the record in donations was especially rewarding, considering the goal for this year was $224,000.

“We require participants to raise a ‘dancer minimum’ in order to attend our event, and we had 760 participants reach that dancer minimum,” she said.

The event began at noon with miracle kid Kingston Murriel. The 12-year-old was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, which required many surgeries before he was even a year old.

“Now he is happy, healthy, and loves anything to do with sports,” Myers said.

Other ‘miracle children’ present were Owen Overby, 6, and his brother, Nathan, 8.

“Owen was diagnosed with viral meningitis at five weeks old, but now is completely healthy and loves playing baseball,” Myers said. “Nathan was diagnosed this past year with neurofibromatosis, a condition where tumors develop often in his brain.

“He will continue to receive multiple surgeries at Children’s of Mississippi in the future. Yet he is the most energetic kid that loves all things dancing and music.”

The event had theme hours where our participants could dress up for each theme.

“Everyone that was there was on the dance floor most of the night,” Myers said. “Our executive board and board of directors did our morale dance – a choreographed dance we do to keep the energy up each hour – on the stage at the top of each of the 12 hours and one more time to finish out the night.”

Morale Captains were spread throughout the dance floor the entire 12 hours and kept energy and enthusiasm high the entire time.

“They do the morale dance on the floor with our participants; they lead games throughout the night; they get pied in the face; they really do whatever they need to do to keep energy high in the dance marathon,” Myers said.

Eleven families, including Aubrey Armstrong, a former Miracle Network Champion of the Year; and Ava Clarke Edney, Miracle Network State Champion for Mississippi from Children’s of Mississippi; visited and shared their stories to keep participants motivated.

A new event – Miracle Market– was also very successful, Myers said.

“Many of our businesses that came sold out of all they had brought,” she said. “Our participants loved it, and our vendors did too.

“Because every vendor donated a percentage of their sales, it also brought in nearly $1,000 to our total. I hope are able to continue this mutually beneficial relationship in future.”

RebelTHON has raised more than $1.8 million for Children’s of Mississippi over the past 12 years. The annual event continues to make a difference all year long, said Jordain Lang, assistant director of student activities at Ole Miss.

“Funds that the hospital receives from us are nonrestrictive, so its administration will use the money as they see fit,” Lang said. “Specifically, this year our money will be going towards new school center in the hospital, so children that are unable to leave the hospital will be able to stay on top of their school work.”

To support the University of Mississippi Medical Center, visit or contact Meredith Aldridge, executive director of development, at 601-815-7469 or

By Edwin Smith/UM MarCom


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