Jupiter High’s Dance Marathon reaches fundraising goal


Jupiter High’s Dance Marathon raised a total of over $36,000 on Feb. 26. The club, started by Grace Lavallee and Marin McCammon, is currently in its second year working to help relieve families with children in hospice. 

Under the guidance of University of Florida’s Shands Hospital, Jupiter High’s Dance Marathon chapter has set up donor pages and relayed their child’s story to one huge event: the Dance Marathon itself.

Since the beginning of the school year members of the club have set up donor pages, fundraisers, meetings and plans for last week’s event.

“After months of planning, it is nice to see how everything has come together and it’s really great to see all of our hard work pay off for our cause,” Lavallee, junior and co-president, said.

As each chapter is assigned a different child to be the center of their fundraising, the one who was celebrated at this particular event was a young girl named Izabella Neira. 

Neira was born three months premature in December 2011 in South Fla., and after three weeks in the world, she developed a pulmonary hemorrhage. She was later diagnosed with a rare surfactant deficiency preventing her lungs from functioning normally. Her condition was so rare that it did not have a name yet. Doctors continuously said she would not make it, but surgery after surgery, she still managed to fight and keep her life.

Club members and teachers were inspired by the young girl’s courage. Although Neira was not able to attend the event, another child did in her place with an equally heart wrenching story.

“I love the cause we are working for and all of the heartwarming stories such as Izabella’s,” Juliet Baltrun, sophomore, said. “She and Kinsley [the child in attendance] were such amazing human beings, even with all of the obstacles life has thrown at them.”

As the gongs went off with more money being donated, smiles grew as the night went on. A unanimous feeling of warmth and love was felt as everyone in attendance at the event came together for the cause.

“Since starting this event last year I have really felt like I was working towards something bigger than myself,” Lavallee said.

When asked if they would partake next year and even in college, Lavallee, Baltrun and more, responded with a swift yes. 

To learn more about joining next year, stay tuned to the announcements or contact Michael Hammett.