A West Virginia University student who helped raise more than $193,000 to support the most urgent needs at WVU Medicine Children’s via MountaineerTHON is being honored for her efforts by Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.
WVU senior Lily Clair is among 27 graduating college or high school student leaders nationwide selected to receive the Distinguished Leadership Award from the Children’s Miracle Network Dance Marathon program. Honorees are recognized for making an exceptional impact within their Dance Marathon programs for their local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital. Clair helped to raise $193,821 over four years to benefit WVU Medicine Children’s, West Virginia’s only Children’s Miracle Network Hospital.
Dance Marathon, known as MountaineerTHON at WVU, is a student-run organization that hosts an annual eight-hour event where hundreds of students are asked to stay on their feet to raise money and awareness for WVU Medicine Children’s Hospital.
“Dance Marathon is a huge event where I come from,” said Clair, a native of Morton, Pennsylvania. “I have been participating in Dance Marathon since middle school. This is my ninth year dancing, and I would not have it any other way.… Coming to college, I found myself having a more intimate relationship with Dance Marathon as I was able to meet and connect with families at our event.”
Clair has been involved as a dancer, public relations director, external director and president throughout her four years at WVU. She created the MountaineerTHON Leadership Program, which targets new students to get involved with Dance Marathon. Expecting only five students to join the program in the fall semester, 20 students applied and joined the program.
“Lily was, at the end of the day, given this award because of her outstanding leadership with MountaineerTHON,” said Tammy Heitz, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Director for WVU Medicine Children’s. “During a global pandemic, she led her team to achieve more than $60,000 this year alone. She is just an all-around rock star.”
Clair’s experience with Dance Marathon helped her discover a passion for supporting children and families in need. Although she will earn her bachelor’s degree in biology this month, she plans to pursue career opportunities focused on large-gift fundraising or marketing for a hospital foundation after graduation. She hopes to eventually work for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and encourages other students to get involved.
“Students should get involved with Miracle Network Dance Marathon on their campus because it is a great way to inspire students to become something bigger than themselves,” Clair said. “…Participating in Dance Marathon allows students to feel accomplished and gives them the ability to say that they really made a difference on their campus and in their community.”
Amy L. Bush, chief operating officer for WVU Medicine Children’s, said she appreciates Clair’s dedication to MountaineerTHON during her time at WVU.
“As we work to build healthier futures for children and families in West Virginia, we rely on dedicated supporters like Lily,” Bush said. “We are grateful for her impressive efforts to support WVU Medicine Children’s, and we’re proud to see her receive this well-deserved recognition. I can’t wait to see what she achieves in her future endeavors.”
Children’s Miracle Network is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to raising awareness and funds for children’s hospitals, such as WVU Medicine Children’s. Donations help provide innovative and comprehensive care, support pediatric research, and purchase the latest technology to maintain a high standard of clinical care. More than 400 colleges, universities and K-12 schools across North America fundraise for their local Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals via the Miracle Network Dance Marathon program, which helps them gain valuable skills in fundraising, peer management, delegation and philanthropy.
Gifts to WVU Medicine Children’s are made through the West Virginia University Foundation, the nonprofit organization that receives and administers private donations on behalf of the University.