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Saturday, November 26, 2022

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Monica Algya Monica Algya

A Million Acts of Good at SDSU

With a boost from a national celebrity, the Aztec Dance Marathon plans to raise $200,000 for Rady Children’s Hospital.
By Erik Good

“Just sitting in that room knowing that every single person was going to use that money for good, I think it’s amazing.”

Monica Algya, a fourth-year student at San Diego State University, remembers the day she received a call from “The Ellen Show,” hosted by Ellen DeGeneres, inviting her to a recording in January.

The show had learned from Algya’s roommate of her work with Aztec Dance Marathon, an organization and annual event of the same name that has generated more than $100,000 each of the past two years for Rady Children’s Hospital.

“For me, the Aztec Dance Marathon is the best thing I’ve done in all of college,” said Algya, the organization’s director of recruitment who is studying communication with an emphasis in leadership. “If I look at what has built me the most community, given me purpose, given me the opportunity to stand for something bigger than myself, it’s been the best thing I’ve chosen to get involved in.”

This year’s event is back and bigger than ever, with more than 80 registered groups on campus currently raising money to help meet the $200,000 fundraising goal. The marathon begins at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 23, in Montezuma Hall at the Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union.

The phone call

Back to the phone call from “The Ellen Show.” What Algya did not know in that moment was that she was among 300 people from around the nation invited to share in a $1 million gift.

On DeGeneres’ birthday, Algya  was in the audience as the TV star stood in front of an oversized Cheerios box and said: “If you have a box of Cheerios under your seat, I’m going to give you a special surprise gift. You're all going to share this gift. It’s the biggest gift I’ve ever given anybody ever. And I hope you continue to pay it forward and share all the good. Hold on to your Cheerios because all of you are splitting one million dollars.”

The gift was part of the One Million Acts of Good campaign DeGeneres created with Cheerios to identify and recognize acts of kindness around the country. Algya will use part of her gift to add to the funds raised at the Aztec Dance Marathon.

“Just sitting in that room knowing that every single person was going to use that money for good, I think it’s amazing,” said Algya, who has been a part of Aztec Dance Marathon since her freshman year. “It speaks to the power of charity and philanthropy and the spirit that that cultivates.”

How you can help

The dance marathon is open to all students, faculty and community members. Currently, more than 1,400 people are registered to participate in the 15-hour dance event. Last year’s event raised a record $144,207.51 to benefit the children at Rady Children’s Hospital—San Diego’s local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital.

Aztec Dance Marathon is part of a network of dance marathons nationwide that benefit Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, a nonprofit organization that raises awareness and funds for local children’s hospitals.

To learn more about the organization and event, and to contribute in support of patients at Rady Children’s Hospital, visit