TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Dance Marathon raises money for pediatric hospitals across the country, money that's used for medical equipment, to fund research, and improve patient care, and Leon High School is doing their part to help out.
Leon held their first "Kickin' it for Miracles" kick-ball tournament last year, an event aimed to connect the students to some of the Miracle Kids, a child who has battled an sickness, that they're helping. The Florida State soccer team jumped on board for year one, so when it came time for year two, there was no doubt they were ready to compete again.
"We want to give back in some way, and I think this is the best way you can," said Florida State goalkeeper Cristina Roque.
"Just to be able to give them something to smile about in way that I can, and anyways that we can, it means so much," added teammate LeiLanni Nesbeth.
Every college athlete has a platform, but not everyone takes advantage of it.
"Just to see how much they loved the event as much as we did," said Lucy Kerwin, the Miracle Family Liaison for Leon High School. "I think the way they left truly showed how much they supported us and loved us."
For the Florida State soccer team, giving back to Tallahassee just makes sense.
"Our fans give us tremendous support with everything we've been through, and every season," said Roque.
That's why the Seminoles teamed up with Leon High School for the second annual "Kickin' It For Miracles," which raises money for Dance Marathon to help Miracle Kids across the country.
"It's super special to me, especially to see all my friends and the kids at school coming together," said Leon sophomore Emily Novin, who is a Miracle Kid herself. "I was born with congenital heart disease, and I had two open heart surgeries."
Novin was one of eight Miracle Kids represented at Friday's kick-ball tournament, which gave everyone a chance for everyone to see who they're fighting for.
"Especially when we talk to the families, oh, this is why we're fundraising," said Kerwin. "I think it puts them on a whole new level of understanding why."
"Their stories, and the fact that they can see some good in all of that they've been through and still be positive, still be appreciative and grateful about life," said Nesbeth. "It makes me look at myself in the mirror."
An opportunity to give back, and get so much in return.
"I just think it's super special that they're out here with us and want to support us," said Novin.
"Everyone on our team just enjoys trying to be out there and trying to create a positive environment," added Roque. "We just want to be able to help anyway we can."
That's a platform anyone can get behind. This year's kick-ball tournament winner was Team Ainsley. The Dance Marathon at Leon High School is set for February 26th, and if you want to donate, click here.