Huskython 2013 breaks record
Published: Sunday, February 17, 2013
Updated: Sunday, February 17, 2013 23:02
HuskyTHON’s conclusion, after its 6 p.m. Saturday to noon Sunday run, ended with the announcement that a record breaking $343,416.57 had been raised this year “for the kids” at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.
HuskyTHON is an annual 18-hour dance marathon that takes place at Hugh S. Greed Field House to celebrate a yearlong effort: to raise money for CCMC. CCMC is “dedicated to improving the physical and emotional health of children through family-centered care, research, education and advocacy,” according to the organization’s website.
This year at HuskyTHON brought 1,619 participants, according to Ricky Holtz, a sixth semester social interaction and new media major and the member of the management team in charge of Dancer Relations. 1,292 dancers (people who did not sit, or leave the venue for the full 18 hours), 150 were morale captains, there to boost the morale of their fellow dancers, 150 volunteers to help set up, clean up, and maintain the event, and several visiting alumni.
Every dancer was required to raise a minimum of $100, a new rule implemented this year, but many exceeded that requirement. The top fundraiser was William Janetschek of Zeta Beta Tau Fraternity who raised $10,800. Following Janetschek was Katie Pepe of the management team, who raised $3,330 and Christine Lewis of Delta Gamma who raised $2,471. The top three fundraisers raised over $16,000 for the kids at CCMC, which is more than the total raised in 2001 at UConn’s first dance marathon, Husky Midnight Marathon.
Lindsay Rauch, an 8th semester communications and Spanish major, and the co-director of the HuskyTHON management team, expressed why she is so passionate about this cause.
“With everything CCMC does, they are so creative. Patients can decorate their rooms, they can be taken to surgery in a red wagon—the doctors don’t make the kids feel like another number. The staff at CCMC truly care for each child there and make them feel comfortable and safe,” said Rauch.
When asked her favorite part about HuskyTHON, Rauch struggled to pick just one thing.
“Obviously finding out the total amount of money we raised is exciting. But what I always look forward to most is the last morale dance, a ten minute dance morale captains learn prior to HuskyTHON that is performed every hour, on the hour of the event that other dancers are encouraged to learn. I love seeing the entire field house dancing together. It’s especially exciting for me this year since I choreographed it,” said Rauch.
There were 79 teams at HuskyTHON this year, including its management team who organize and run the event after going through a competitive application process, fraternities, sororities, sports teams, learning communities, and other organizations.
Out of these organizations, the management team was the top fundraiser, with $28,506.99. Shortly behind the management team was Delta Zeta sorority with $28,451.00, according to HuskyTHON’s donors website.
Daniel Bolson, a 6th semester marketing major and the director of entertainment on the management team, got involved with HuskyTHON after being inspired by his fraternity brothers’ passion for the event.
“Two of my brothers and best friends were on the management team in previous years, in addition to being involved with many other things on campus like tour guiding, Community Outreach, Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life, and more. Out of all the things they were involved with, their biggest passion was HuskyTHON. This is what inspired me to become more involved beyond being a dancer. I knew it would enhance my college experience and for the past five months it certainly has,” said Bolson.
There were a record-breaking amount of “miracle families” at HuskyTHON this year, according to Scott Organek, the Director of CCMC. Each team is assigned a “miracle child,” a young patient from CCMC who has battled and survived, or is still battling, a serious illness. Each team decorates posters for their miracle child, gets to know him or her and their family, and surprises them with gifts. After the morale dance every hour, a miracle child and his or her family goes on stage and shares their story as the rest of the Field House takes a knee out of respect for the emotional story being told.
“Seeing the dollar total is great, but the coolest thing is seeing the patients out there being treated like kings and queens,” said Organek. “We’ve got kids who have survived cancer, there’s a kid who was born at one pound, there’s a girl with half a heart…and you would never know. And it’s amazing seeing the UConn community come together to support these kids.”
Bolson spoke for the management team when asked his favorite part about HuskyTHON. “For us it’s the ability to change the lives of so many children and motivate so many students to be passionate about something like HuskyTHON. At the reveal when you see everyone’s faces and you see everyone crying…to make someone experience that is a great feeling,” said Bolson.
HuskyTHON started out as “Husky Midnight Marathon,” which raised $15,160 in 2001. Now, HuskyTHON is the largest student led philanthropy in the state of Connecticut. Additionally, after raising $304,375.24 last year, HuskyTHON was added to the list of top ten dance marathons in the country.