UConn's largest philanthropic event, HuskyTHON, is inching closer. The annual 18-hour dance marathon, the largest student-run philanthropic event in the state, raises money for the Connecticut Children's Medical Center, a Hartford pediatric hospital. This year, HuskyTHON is hoping to raise enough money to fund a new cardiovascular waiting room.
"The whole Cardiovascular Care Center is being renovated so that they'll be able to help more children," said Laura Roosevelt, one of the co-directors for dancer relations. "Parents and children spend their most anxious moments in the waiting room, so the purpose is to distract them from the reasons why they are there. The waiting room is centrally located in the hospital, so patients and families will be passing by it every day, and we hope to have our name on the waiting room so that they're reminded just how much we care about them."
Last year the event raised nearly $350,000 and this year they raised their goal to $500,000. This money would go directly to the construction of a new waiting room.
While HuskyTHON is the university's largest philanthropic endeavor it also provides students with a meaningful service experience.
"Students can expect a night that they're never going to forget," said Alyssa Pelletier, co-director of dancer relations. "There are a ton of words that can be used to describe HuskyTHON - it's fun, it's inspiring, it's emotional, it's tiring. You'll spend 18 hours on your feet, have fun with friends, get to know some of the kids whose lives you're changing, and hopefully leave with a new perspective. Every hour students get to hear a different Miracle Story of one of the children in attendance, and it's really touching and emotional and just reminds you why you're there."
According to Pelletier and Roosevelt, HuskyTHON aims to bring students a fun and life changing experience. The 18-hour dance marathon, while grueling, is filled with fun activities from bouncy house to theme dance hours.
"HuskyTHON truly is life-changing," Roosevelt said. "And the night of is an amazing experience that's bound to stick with anyone who participates. Aside from just being a fun 18 hours of dancing with friends, the event itself is so inspiring because you're able to meet Miracle Children who have gone through treatment at CCMC and who might not be here if it wasn't for the hospital. Students will hear the patients' stories and be reminded of why they're doing everything they're doing. It's a great thing to be involved in because you see firsthand the difference that you're making in the lives of all of these children. And it's fun! You get to dance the night away with your friends and play with kids, what more could you want!"
While students are expected to fundraise individually, HuskyTHON coordinates several fundraisers throughout the year including October's Miracle Walk Fashion Show and ZombieThon. On Feb. 1 at noon, HuskyTHON will be hosting ZumbaThon, an event in which participants will pay $5 for a four hour Zumba dance party in the Hugh S. Greer Field House.
Dancer registration for HuskyTHON is open online at huskython.uconn.edu until Jan. 27.
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