QU community raises more than $100,000 at annual dance marathon QTHON

Jacklyn Pellegrino, Copy Editor

Quinnipiac University students and faculty gathered with children from Connecticut Children’s Hospital and their families for the annual eight-hour QTHON dance marathon in Burt Kahn Court on Saturday, raising $103,956 in donations for the Greatest Need Children’s Fund.

There were 16 patients from Connecticut Children’s at this year’s event. The children, known as Miracle Children, were each paired with a student organization at Quinnipiac to spend the day with.

“(The Miracle Children) have a super fun time because it’s a day where they can be a kid and not think about being sick and their own medical issues that they have to deal with,” said Michaela Bedard, a senior nursing major and the executive director of QTHON. “So, it’s just a fun day to celebrate.”

It began with the “Bobcat Walk,” which introduced each of the Miracle Children and their families. Throughout the day, the parents spoke about their experience with Connecticut Children’s, the Morale committee danced every hour on the hour, a dance competition was held and there were several food options and vendors.

Several organizations on campus, Greek life and the QTHON management team raised money throughout the year. Each organization had to sign up through the donor drive. By fundraising and attending events throughout the year, the organizations earned “miracle points” which ultimately helped them receive a Miracle Child for the day of the event.

Bedard said that all of the money raised will go towards whatever is most essential at the hospital, such as paying for treatments that insurance doesn’t cover.

Alexa Freede, a junior interdisciplinary studies major in the elementary education program and Alpha Chi Omega’s QTHON chair, said she tried to incentivize members of her sorority to fundraise by explaining how great it would be to have a Miracle Child this year, because last year they did not have one.

“I started crying,” Freede said. “I was so happy. It was a lot to get a Miracle Child and I was really hoping that we would because at least the work that we put in, it would pay off.”

Connor Bearer, a first-year health science studies major in the 4+2 Entry-Level Masters Physcian Assistant program and member of Delta Upsilon, said his fraternity raised $600 prior to the event.

“I was glad I was chosen to get a Miracle Child,” Bearer said. “It’s really special and I loved meeting his family and spending the day with him.”

Delta Upsilon’s Miracle Child, Corey, attended the event with his family. His dad, Scott Turken, said they have participated in QTHON before, as well as HuskyTHON at the University of Connecticut.

“Everyone is super welcoming, it’s a really kind atmosphere of kids trying to help kids who need help from Connecticut Children’s,” Turken said.

Every hour of the event, the Morale committee, led by co-chairs Mia Calore, a senior nursing major and Hannah Eaton, a senior health sciences major in the occupational therapy program, performed a 10-minute dance to keep everyone’s energy up.

“We just keep spirits high all day, like it is a long day and everyone’s probably tired, but we just keep it fun and get everyone on their feet and dancing all day … we’re just like the positive hype team for the day of,” Calore said.

Calore said that the Morale committee spent months preparing for the day. She said they began choreographing the dance during winter break and have practiced three days a week since. They also worked with the DJ to create a remix of various songs, Calore said.

Amannda Ramsdell’s seven-year-old son Michael was the Miracle Child paired with the sorority Kappa Alpha Theta. It was their first time attending QTHON in person.

“(Michael is) currently out there playing ball with his whole team and he’s the center of attention and they’re giving everything they have to make him feel that way,” Ramsdell said.

She said Michael had a “rough start to his life” due to his spastic diplegia cerebral palsy which makes him unable to walk.

“For him to be around kids that make him feel important and special, despite what he goes through is huge and the fundraising efforts that are done here, help kids just like Michael be able to thrive just like he is,” Ramsdell said.