Thursday marks the beginning of the year-long philanthropic campaign at the University of Connecticut to raise both money and awareness for Connecticut Children’s Hospital — HuskyTHON.
The fundraising effort organized by UConn students has been incredibly successful, having raised more than $1 million each of the last four years.
The 2022 campaign is much-anticipated by the HuskyTHON organization since the pandemic affected last year’s effort. Nevertheless, the 2021 campaign was extremely successful and opened up new opportunities for the philanthropic group.
The Daily Campus had the pleasure of speaking with two members of the HuskyTHON 2022 team: Executive Director Abbey Conrad and Vice President of Communications Rachel Lamore.
“During the 2020-21 school year, HuskyTHON was determined to adapt to the challenges and overcome the obstacles of the pandemic environment,” Lamore explained. “Despite the rules of physical distancing, our community had never been closer and more dedicated to the kids.Traditionally, HuskyTHON is held in the Field House, where over 3,000 students gather to celebrate their year-long fundraising efforts with an 18-hour dance marathon. In 2021, however, we combined this in-person experience with a virtual component to give all our participants and Miracle Kids the opportunity to experience the magic of HuskyTHON. The livestream gave us the opportunity to reach audiences we have never reached before.”
This excitement for this year’s HuskyTHON has been palpable, with students roaring in anticipation to be a part of the team in fighting childhood illness and disease.
“Every year, the HuskyTHON community works non-stop to raise funds and awareness for the kids at Connecticut Children’s, a nationally recognized, 187-bed not-for-profit children’s hospital in Hartford, Connecticut,” Lamore said. “Together with Connecticut Children’s, our goal is to give children the care they deserve, and to show them they will always have a support system of thousands of students here at UConn as they battle childhood illness and injury. We recognize the battles faced by the kids at Connecticut Children’s are not meant to be fought alone, which is why we are pledging to fight By Their Side this year to help give kids the strength to continue fighting. We believe no child should have to spend a birthday, holiday or first day of school behind hospital walls, so we fundraise year-long to give kids the chance to just be kids and to live happy, carefree childhoods.”
The motto of HuskyTHON 2022, “By Their Side,” puts the children at the forefront. This year’s 18-hour dance marathon promises to do just that, bringing together children in need and the support of UConn’s students in an energetic, exuberant event.
“We certainly learned a lot through hosting a hybrid dance marathon last spring, and we are looking to carry that with us into this year. With our commitment to following all university and state guidelines for health and safety, it is difficult to say what exactly HuskyTHON 2022 will look like,” Conrad said. “Regardless, we are working tirelessly to create an 18-hour experience that everyone can participate in to show their support for the patients, families and staff at Connecticut Children’s! It will be an incredible celebration of everyone’s hard work and we cannot wait to spend 18 hours with everyone this spring!”
Though this is a year-long effort, it is best to get involved as early as possible for the campaign to be most successful.
“The most common way to get involved is to register as a dancer,” Lamore said. “Dancers can fundraise as individuals, join a team or join Jonathan’s Huskies, a team for dancers who don’t have a team to join but are interested in working with a group of equally passionate individuals. “Once on a team, dancers can become their team’s “dancer representative,” the representative for the team who serves as the main point of contact between their team and the HuskyTHON management team. Additionally, students who might not be able to commit to the full 18 hours of our main event but still want to remain involved by offering their help during [the] night-of for one (or more) three-hour shifts can register as volunteers. We encourage the most passionate individuals in our community to join our internal team as morale captains, HuskyTHON rising leaders, and captains!”