HoyaTHON nearly doubled its fundraising total at its second annual dance marathon Nov. 9, raising money for Washington, D.C.’s local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital.
HoyaTHON, Georgetown University’s chapter of the Miracle Network Dance Marathon, raised more than $73,584 overall, nearly double the $41,024 raised last year. The funds will all go to Children’s National, a hospital in Washington, D.C. Children’s National is one of 170 Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals that provide health care to pediatric patients across the United States and Canada. The network supports fundraising and awareness campaigns, including dance marathons, for the hospitals.
Students who participated in hoyaTHON remained standing — and often dancing — for 12 hours Saturday to raise money, according to Daniela Toste (NHS ’21), director of Family Relations on the hoyaTHON Executive Board.
“You stand on your feet the entire time to fight for the kids who can not,” Toste wrote in a statement to The Hoya.
Participating students signed up online and collected donations from family, friends and other sponsors via a personal fundraising page. HoyaTHON also raised money through group fundraising efforts with student organizations like Students of Georgetown, Inc., commonly referred to as The Corp, and the Georgetown University Farmers’ Market.
Co-Directors Callia Karas (COL ’20) and Hanna Dohmen (SFS ’20) launched the campus chapter last year to engage the Georgetown community in a fun, charitable initiative, Dohmen said. The December 2018 dance marathon set its goal at $20,000 but doubled the amount by raising over $41,000.
“We started this because we saw how impactful this is in other communities and other campuses,” Dohmen said. “The whole point of the dance marathon is to bring an entire community together for the same cause.”
The funds raised will go toward the Fund for Every Child, a Children’s Miracle National Network program dedicated to helping treat children with quality care, according to Hank Rich, assistant director of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.
“The Fund for Every Child helps to ensure that every child, from every background and every walk of life, can receive exceptional care, regardless of insurance or ability to pay,” Rich wrote in an email to The Hoya.
Georgetown’s event is one of 400 Children’s Miracle Network dance marathons throughout the country. Holding hoyaTHON in November broke with the majority of other universities’ fundraising strategies. Most universities hold dance marathons in the spring, allowing organizers more time to recruit and plan the hours-long event, according to Dohmen.
On the day of the event, 293 students had registered to be a part of this year’s dance marathon, which coincidentally matched the exact number of children staying at Children’s National, according to Dohmen.
“There were 293 kids at the hospital that had spent the night at the hospital that night, and the day of, that morning, when we woke up, we had 293 people registered,” Dohmen said. “Just realizing that every person registered represented one kid at the hospital who spent the night there, like, I had tears running down my face.”
By the time the event started Saturday in the Healey Family Student Center, however, 344 students had registered for the event, which was 101 more participants than last year, Dohmen said.
Registrants could participate in 12 hours of dancing, including a morale dance that participants learned throughout the event, as well as games and food, according to Toste. Children’s National parents and patients, known as “miracle families” by organizers, joined Georgetown students to perform, deliver speeches and spend time with participants.
“I loved being able to meet and play games with the miracle families that attended this year,” Toste said. “They were so fun and did extremely well with their speeches and performances.”
Throughout the day, student organizations like a cappella group Saxatones and dance troupe Groove Theory entertained participants. Performing was an opportunity to help an important cause, according to Groove Theory dancer Annmarie Rotatori (COL ’23).
“We were very happy to play a role in supporting hoyaTHON and Children’s National,” Rotatori wrote in a statement to The Hoya. “It was really fun to perform with my team for such a great cause!”
Although this is the second year of hoyaTHON in its current iteration, 2018 was not the first time a dance marathon was held at Georgetown. The most recent dance marathon prior to last year’s event was held in 2010 and raised about $8,500 for Children’s National. After that, the chapter ceased fundraising until Dohmen and Karas revived the dance marathon.
Dohmen is optimistic that hoyaTHON will continue after she and Karas graduate because of the dance marathon’s fundraising success.
“Just kind of hearing that people are talking about it and are excited about it, that to me makes me feel like it will continue on without us here,” Dohmen said.