Giving Back for the Holidays: Two Efforts By Michigan Ross Community Members to Support U-M’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital This Year
Inspired by their personal connection to the hospital and their daughter’s experiences, a current Full-Time MBA student and an alum of the Ross School of Business both stepped up to give back to the University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital this holiday season.
Michigan Ross MBA’s tailgate and birthday party fundraiser
During a tailgate for the Michigan-Ohio State football game, Devlin McConnell, MBA ’22, and his wife, Hillary, organized a pig roast fundraiser to support C.S. Mott Hospital and celebrate their daughter Sloane’s first birthday.
“Sloane was born at Mott Children's Hospital, and we received truly amazing care that meant the world to us,” said Devlin McConnell. “We spent a lot of time at Mott and interacted with dozens of healthcare professionals, and we feel incredibly grateful for the warmth and kindness that each one of the healthcare providers at Mott showed us during the beginning of our journey as a family of three.”
The McConnells asked attendees of the pig roast birthday party to donate to the C.S. Mott Annual Fund, a flexible resource that responds to the needs of the Mott patients, clinicians, and scientists. After receiving donations from dozens of individuals, including many from the Michigan Ross community, the couple raised over $2,300 for the hospital and are keeping their fundraising drive going through the holidays.
Michigan Ross alum’s nonprofit provides fun donations to Mott patients
Pammy Kramer, BBA ’04, and her husband Scott, founded Dancing While Cancering in memory of their 3-year-old daughter, Maddie, who lost her life to a rare form of cancer in January 2018. Their nonprofit’s mission is to bring joy to the inpatient hospital experience for children with cancer by providing Smile Packs (backpacks with room decorations and a speaker to encourage dancing) and installing Maddie’s Character Closets of figurines and characters to oncology floor’s playrooms.
“When deciding which hospitals to partner with, Scott and I had no doubt that C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital was at the top of our wish list, since we both attended U-M in Ann Arbor as undergrad students,” explained Kramer. “It’s where we first met, and where we got engaged to be married, so it holds a very special place in our hearts. Scott actually lived in Markley as a first-year student, so C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital was right across the street, and he also volunteered at the hospital as a student.”
On the couple’s ninth wedding anniversary, in August 2019, they returned to Ann Arbor to launch their partnership with Mott. After making another donation this December, Dancing While Cancering has gifted 65 bins of characters to Maddie’s Character Closets at Mott. And, of the 11 partner hospitals in the country that carry Maddie’s Character Closet, Mott has placed the most orders to fill and refill their closet.
“Our partnership with Mott is incredibly meaningful to us given our history in Ann Arbor, not to mention how thoughtful, caring, and dedicated the Mott team is for their patients,” said Kramer. “The reaction to Dancing While Cancering’s gifts to Mott has been unbelievably positive. We have received countless messages from both parents and Mott’s child life specialists with stories of how much Maddie’s Character Closet means to these kids.”
In addition, Kramer said that they have received tremendous support from the Michigan Ross and U-M community — both before and after launching Dancing While Cancering.
“The Michigan Ross and U-M community has been unstoppable. They have donated their money, time and energy to supporting our mission. They are more than a community and more than just our friends – they are truly our extended family,” said Kramer. “As Maddie was battling cancer, they reached out to us with supportive messages on a daily basis, sent gifts for Maddie, and even created t-shirts (in Michigan maize and blue) that said #TeamMaddie.”