HuskyTHON, one of the University of Connecticut’s most popular philanthropic events, will take place on Feb. 18, 2017. HuskyTHON is a yearlong student-run fundraiser that raises money for the Connecticut Children's Medical Center, culminating in the 18 hour-long dance marathon that will be taking place in just a few weeks.
Students have to raise a minimum amount of money to participate in the dance marathon, but participants are given a lot opportunities to raise money in events like canning and donations. Any and all students are encouraged to make a team to raise money for HuskyTHON’s great cause, a partnership with the Connecticut Children’s Medical Network.
The Connecticut Children’s Medical Center is a non-profit children’s hospital that is a part of the 170 children’s hospitals across North America that comprise the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. The Connecticut Children’s Hospital treats all children, never turning a single family away. For years now, UConn’s HuskyTHON has been helping to raise money “For The Kids,” with increasing student participation over the years, meaning increasing funds raised for this great cause. Eliza Kanner, HuskyTHON’s Vice President of Communication, stated that “Last year's total helped to build the hospital's newest addition, the HuskyTHON Center for Procedural Excellence, which aids patients in making them feel comfortable pre-op.” HuskyTHON has only been an event on UConn’s campus for 17 years, and the money raised has helped make a difference in the lives of children in need across Connecticut.
According to Eliza Kanner, HuskyTHON was first started by UConn’s Greek community in 2000. Originally called Husky Midnight Marathon, dancers raised $13,878 for the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. HuskyTHON had been slowly but steadily growing in popularity until 2008, when the dance marathon had a shocking 280 percent increase, raising $56,920 compared to its previous average of about $15,000 per year. In 2016, HuskyTHON managed to raise $716,394.58 for the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, making it the largest student-run philanthropy in New England. HuskyTHON is run by a dedicated group of 28 students (and several advisors) who continually raise money throughout the year in events like ZumbaTHON and ZombieTHON. It is through this group of students that HuskyTHON can be a success and change the lives of children in need.
HuskyTHON has become so popular that it known by many as a “UConn Bucket List” event. Although an 18 hour dance marathon may seem like an arduous task, Eliza Kanner believes that the experience is worth it. “In the final hour, every participant stands in one gigantic circle in the gym, hold hands, and the HuskyTHON children come around to each dancer and cuts off their medical bracelet that was given to them when they first walked into the gym. This moment is one of a kind, as the HuskyTHON children all experienced getting their medical bracelet removed after facing the hardest of battles, which makes the past 18 hours of dancing seem effortless.” According to Kanner and many former HuskyTHON participants, being a dancer in HuskyTHON is an invaluable experience that participants will remember for years to come.
For all of those who are interested, there is still time to register for the 2017 event at www.huskython.org. All members of the UConn community who are interested are encouraged to take place in this amazing and inspiring philanthropic event.
Lauren Brown is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.