This past Saturday, the University of Connecticut hosted their annual HuskyTHON fundraiser and raised over $1.4 million for Connecticut Children’s Hospital.
Throughout the year, UConn students can sign up to participate in HuskyTHON and raise money. The fundraising efforts come together in March when students join CCH patients and their families in an 18-hour-long dance marathon.
UConn students can raise money on their own or with a university club, eighth-semester allied health sciences major Kimlyn Vo explained.
“This year I started my own team for the Vietnamese Student Association and was the Dance Representative and Team Captain,” Vo said. “It was fun to participate in the event with my friends while leading the team to push for the kids. We raised over $4,800.”
Vo talked about the variety of traditions during HuskyTHON and their importance for visiting CCH patients, their families, event organizers and students.
“My favorite part about the UConn tradition is the Circle of Hope. This happens at the very last hour of the event when everyone gathers around and reflects back on the night before the reveal of the total amount of money raised,” Vo said. “Another tradition I love is the morale dance. It boosts people’s energy and keeps the momentum going.”
After changes made to the event over the past few years because of COVID-19, HuskyTHON 2023 was able to be held similarly to how it was pre-pandemic, sixth-semester nursing major Brianna Monte said.
“Last year we were still worried about Covid and the kids’ health, so we had HuskyTHON outside. It was also harder on some people to donate money since they were recovering financially from the hardships of the pandemic.”
Because of these factors, Monte believes that this year’s HuskyTHON event and the total amount of money raised was a success.
“We raised $1,480,255.77 which is about $140,000 more than we raised last year,” Monte said.
Although the total amount raised is not UConn’s record in the time that she’s been here, Monte is confident that next year that record will be beaten.
Beyond the fun activities and performances that occur during the event, Vo talked about the importance of attending and being a part of HuskyTHON.
“Getting involved and participating means being an ally for the kids. It’s a great experience and is so rewarding and fulfilling to be part of,” Vo said. “This day is sometimes the day CCH patients look forward to the most in the year.”
Even if UConn students cannot attend the event itself, anyone is welcome to help raise money. Monte explained some of the ways to do so.
“We do things like getting approval to put cans next to cash registers in stores. We encourage people to collect bottles or cans and do bottle returns for money. We also have a bunch of fundraisers throughout the year,” Monte said.
For many, HuskyTHON is the chance to connect with the UConn community and benefit children suffering from rare and or severe medical conditions, Monte said. It is a day filled with many emotions.
“HuskyTHON is the most amazing thing I’ve been a part of. I can’t even put it into words. It’s overwhelmingly emotional,” Monte said.