Olivia Schlanger is the executive director of Davis Dance Marathon, held this year on Sunday, February 18 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. in the UC Davis ARC Ballroom. Davis Dance Marathon is a 12-hour event that brings together the UC Davis community for a day of games, performances, dance lessons, arts/crafts, food and speeches from miracle families. After yearlong fundraising efforts, participants dance in solidarity for the kids who can’t.
How long have you been involved with Children’s Miracle Network at UC Davis? What has your involvement looked like over time? This is the third year I have been involved with Children’s Miracle Network (CMN). I am currently the executive director of Davis Dance Marathon. As a double major in dance and psychology, I believe dance has the power to heal people; both young and old, physically and mentally. That’s what first attracted me to CMN’s Dance Marathons.
I first participated in 2015 and was overwhelmed by the generosity of the community. Everyone came together for nine hours, standing in solidarity with the kids. We raised more than $3,000! The following year, I became executive director. It’s the perfect fit, combining my love for dancing with my love for helping others. With each passing year, this experience has been more and more rewarding.
There are so many good causes, why did you choose to support UC Davis Children’s Hospital?I am fortunate and healthy enough to pursue an education while exploring my passions. Many kids don’t have this opportunity. As a member of the UC Davis community, I think it’s important to give back and I can’t think of a better cause to support. UC Davis Children’s Hospital ensures kids are getting the best treatment possible. I’m so passionate about Davis Dance Marathon and am honored to be a part of the CMN movement #forthekids. This organization means so much to me.
What is your favorite memory while supporting UC Davis Children’s Hospital? Last summer, I attended the National Dance Marathon Leadership Conference in Baltimore, Maryland. Over the course of three days, I attended 20+ workshops about fundraising, involvement, merchandise sales, dancer experience, corporate sponsorships and more. I collaborated with professionals and students from across the country to create best practices. It was very inspiring and humbling as we all joined together in supporting this cause.
How has being involved with UC Davis Children’s Hospital changed your life? Your family’s life? It has made me a better person. Dance Marathon has encouraged me to devote my time and energy to kids less fortunate. Every kid deserves to live their healthiest life.
What motivates you as a volunteer? I am motivated by the hope that one day, all kids will return to the comfort of their own bed. As we say at Davis Dance Marathon, until there’s a cure, there’s a cause! Although each person takes something different away from Dance Marathon, I believe everyone leaves the event with a sense of accomplishment and a greater appreciation for their good fortune.
What do you think is the most important thing people don’t know about this hospital? Many people don’t realize that no child is ever turned away from treatment due to financial status. Part of Children’s Miracle Network, UC Davis Children’s Hospital prioritizes the health and well-being of their patients over cost and is always working to give families and kids the best tools and care to survive and thrive.
What would you say to people about why they should invest in the health of children’s hospital? I think it’s important for everyone to understand how crucial donations are. Insurance companies provide much less than one would think. If UC Davis Children’s Hospital no longer received donations, what would happen? What programs and resources would no longer be available? How would these families be affected? These donations are critical for UC Davis Children’s Hospital to continue to provide the highest level of care.