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The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

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Chris Matthews poses for a photo at the Global Hub in Posvar Hall.
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Pitt Dance Marathon hosts its annual fashion show to raise money for Children’s Miracle Network

A+student+with+Pitt+Dance+Marathon+joins+a+miracle+kid+on+stage+during+the+fashion+show+in+the+William+Pitt+Union+Assembly+Room+on+Wednesday+evening.
Ethan Shulman | Visual Editor
A student with Pitt Dance Marathon joins a miracle kid on stage during the fashion show in the William Pitt Union Assembly Room on Wednesday evening.

The Pitt Dance Marathon student organization hosted a fashion show for the Children’s Miracle Network last Wednesday. Students packed the assembly room in the William Pitt Union, alongside parents and other event donors. The fashion show consisted of three sections, with different student groups and organizations walking the runway with the miracle kids — survivors of childhood diseases treated through a national network of hospitals, including UPMC Children’s Hospital. 

Sam Triulzi, a senior biological sciences major and the event’s host, began by showing a recap video of last year’s Pitt Dance Marathon that showed the grand total raised last year — over $340,000. 

For the first runway walk, members of student organizations and clubs accompanied the kids. The host introduced each of the kids and revealed their favorite superhero. The students and kids got creative with their walk-ups, adding fun dances and poses. Leia Millan, a junior pharmacy major and co-chair of special events for Pitt Dance Marathon, said a welcoming community and family exists within the Pitt Dance Marathon organization. 

“For me, the Pitt Dance Marathon is a big community. So, when I first came to Pitt, I was a first-gen student who was kind of afraid of not really making a lot of friends,” Millan said. “I go into the Pitt Marathon, and I have made the biggest family possible. And I absolutely love every single moment that I have been here.”

After a short break, the second round of runway walks began. This time, members of Pitt Greek life accompanied the miracle children. Once again, the energy was infectious, as the crowd excitedly cheered everyone on, especially as the participants got to the end of the runway to strike their pose. This time, the host revealed each of the kids’ favorite memories from their time in the hospital. A fundraising push followed this round of runway walks, where audience members could donate to the cause. 

Payton McCarthy, a junior applied developmental psychology major and co-chair for special events for Pitt Dance Marathon, highlighted the community that the organization fosters.

“During last spring, I was wanting to get more involved on campus and wanted to branch out, meet new people and my best friend was really involved in PDM and loved it so much that she helped me get involved in the middle of the year,” McCarthy said. “She showed me the ropes, and I didn’t know anyone besides her. But everyone really welcomed me with open arms and the energy here is contagious. The love for the cause is contagious. So I just immediately fell in love with that.”

As McCarthy said, the energy was contagious. The third and final round of runway walks began shortly after. The staff members walked with the children, striking poses and dancing as they walked down the runway. As he reintroduced the children for the final time, the host explained to the audience what each of the children said they would do if they had a million dollars. This event has recently become an important leadup to the Pitt Dance Marathon, allowing everyone to get excited for the main event.

Bre Smith, a senior psychology major and director of programming for Pitt Dance Marathon, said the annual event took a hiatus for the pandemic, but it reemerged thanks to a wide collaborative effort.

“We’re the ones that fully go into making this event. We contacted our hospital representatives to get the miracle kids involved,” Smith said. “We reach out to all the organizations, Greek life and staff to get them to walk and then we coordinate with Fireside, who’s our production company and they come up with all the lighting and the stage and everything else that goes into it.”

The event ended with the miracle children returning to the stage one final time, resulting in a very loud and emphatic standing ovation from the audience.

About the Contributor
Quinn Cilea, Staff Writer
Quinn Cilea is a junior English fiction writing and film and media studies major with a minor in Italian. He loves watching Chelsea, playing soccer and rock climbing. If he’s not out doing one of these things, he’s probably working through his long TV and movie watchlist or working on a music playlist.