Meet Antoinette Walton: Miracle Maker, Student, Philanthropist

Antoinette Walton is a junior at UCF, majoring in General Business. She is an involved student who is very active in her sorority (Gamma Phi Beta) and her community. She gives a majority of her time to volunteering and giving back to a cause that is near and dear to her. Antoinette was a Knight Thon team captain this year and helped raise over $1000 for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. What some people don’t know is that Antoinette herself was a miracle child and this is one of the reasons that she has given so much of her time and effort to this amazing philanthropy. In her free time, Antoinette loves to workout, spend time with friends and watch Netflix. I had the honor of interviewing this lovely lady to find out more about her interests, her aspirations and why she does what she does. Read on to find out more about Antoinette!

 

Q: Hello Antoinette, you’ve told me before that you were a miracle child when you were younger. Do you mind telling me your story and a bit about how you think it has impacted you?

A:  So when I was 8 days old, my grandfather noticed that something was not right. I was not blue or showed any signs of physical issues. That night, my mom noticed that I was not eating or sleeping so the next morning, my mom brought me to the doctor. The doctor believed that it was a heart infection therefore they did some tests. After some tests, the doctors realized that I had some serious issues. They quickly called the ambulance and I was take from Boca Raton to Miami Children’s Hospital. My first issue was that a vital part of my heart called the PDA was closed and my heart of was pumping on its own. The doctors had to wait until it reopened in order to do the surgery. At 10 days old, I went into open heart surgery. I had two main issues going into surgery which were two holes in my heart and a narrowed aorta. After my surgery, I was only in the hospital for an additional 6 days. Since my surgery, 21 years ago, I have yet to go back to hospital or have had any major issues relating to my heart.

Before college, I never really thought about how this has impacted me. Growing up, I acted as though I never had open surgery since I did everything normally and even played travel soccer for 10 years. When I started to get more involved with Knight Thon, I started to realize how fortunate I was to only go through one surgery compare to many Congenital Heart Defect patients. My surgery impacted me to get more involved and make a difference for the kids!

 

 

Q: I know you were a Knight Thon team captain this year. What was your favorite memory at Knight Thon this year and why?

A: I would have to say that my favorite memory at Knight-Thon this year was when we had about three hours left until all fundraising was over. I was on the dance floor with all 30 of my dancers, and seeing every single girl contacting as many people as possible to donate to have our team reach $20,000. During that time, I saw so much dedication for our team to reach that goal and once we hit and exceeded that amount, every dancer came over to me and hugged me as I was crying tears of joy. It is a memory I will never forget.

 

Q: What advice do you have for anyone who wants to get involved in UCF’s Dance Marathon or help with Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals?

A: My advice to anyone that wants to get involved with UCF’s Dance Marathon or with Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals would be to go onto Youtube and look up “Children’s Miracle Network stories” and watch several stories to get a better understanding exactly what these hospitals do. Watching these stories will not only help people understand what Children’s Miracle Network actually does, but give people a chance to connect to the cause. Connecting to the cause, whether it be knowing someone who has gone to a CMN Hospital or simply feeling inspired to do more for the cause, is so important when getting involved. In order to really get involved with something like UCF’s Dance Marathon, you really need to have that passion for the cause and the best way to get that passion is to connect to what the cause is all about.

 

 

 

Q: What else are you involved with besides Knight Thon and how did you first get involved in these activities?

A: So my sophomore year at UCF is when I really started to get involved in the community. I actually got more involved during my sophomore year because that is when became a sister of Gamma Phi Beta. Gamma Phi Beta’s philanthropy is what really made me want to become a sister of the sorority and that is when I knew anything I did within the chapter, I would want it to be about philanthropy. So in fall 2015, I became apart of Gamma Phi Beta’s philanthropy committee and helped coordinate our event benefitting Girls on the Run. This sparked my interest even more to get involved in philanthropies. That is when I decided to do Pack to Attack within the same semester. I fundraised and spent an hour of my time to pack as many meals as possible to be shipped to parts of the world that needed it. After fall 2015, my main focus became about Knight Thon but I still try my best to donate and be apart of other philanthropies across campus.

 

 

Q: If you could choose one person to call your role model who would you choose and why?

A: So up until college my role model has always been my grandpa. He was only part of my life for 10 years but even with him gone, anything and everything I did, I would do for him. He has always been my inspiration. My grandpa had to take care of 4 children on his own, when my grandmother passed away suddenly, as well as run his own business. I always saw him as someone that was extremely strong and that I always wanted to be like him. Realistically though, my role model really has to be my big, Kelly. She has a heart like gold and cares so much about her friends and family. Although her and I are the same age, I aspire to be very much like her. No matter what she is going through, she is always so positive and will put all her troubles away just to help anyone with their issues. She is someone that I am very happy to have in my life and someone I honestly do not know how I have survived this long without her. She gives 100% into anything she does. I probably could on and on about her because that is just much of an impact she has had on my life.

 

 

 

Q: If you could trade places with anyone for a day, who would it be?

A: Okay, so to be completely honest, I would love to trade places with Demi Lovato for a day. Now I would have to request that on this day, Demi is hanging out with Nick Jonas. I would love to be Demi Lovato and hangout with Nick Jonas for an entire day.

 

Q: Last but not least, how do you think being a student at UCF and being a part of all of these organizations and causes has shaped you as an individual?

A: I think being part of these organizations and causes as a UCF student has shaped me into more well rounded person. I have started to do things that make a difference in other people’s lives and benefit others in more ways than one. This has all inspired me to continue making a difference for the community and hope one day I can turn this all into a career.

 

I wanted to thank Antoinette for taking time out to let me interview her and get to know her even better. We wish her the best in her college journey and hope that she can continue to shape the lives of people around her with her dedication and kindness!