By Sylvia A. Bolls
Towson University will host its 12th annual TigerTHON this weekend to raise money for sick and injured children at the Johns Hopkins Children Center.
The 12-hour dance marathon will run from 6 p.m. Friday to 6 a.m. Saturday at Burdick Hall, and organizers said an estimated 1,600 people will participate.
The money raised from the event will pay for medical care that is not covered by insurance, such as distraction machines in treatment rooms, nebular masks, toys for playrooms and iPads. The donations will also ensure that every child’s patient room has an Xbox, TV and DVD to make their stay as comfortable as possible.
“Being able to raise money for this great cause always makes me feel like I’m helping someone out,” said Melissa Brown, a junior and two-year member of TigerTHON who raised $422 for this year’s event. “This 12-hour dance marathon only happens once a year, so why not just one night for the kids.”
Registration for TigerTHON can be done online or completed at the door at Burdick Hall on Friday. Each student must raise a minimum of $40 and pay a $10 entrance fee and can either join a team or participate individually.
“Our goal is to raise $200,000 this year,” said Kristen Woods, morale chair and three-year member of TigerTHON. “We’ve currently raised $137,699 compared to last year’s TigerTHON where we raised over $131,000. I love knowing that the money we raise is going to a great cause.”
Throughout the year, the TigerTHON committee fundraises by planning different events to keep the students at Towson and community well aware.
“Social media, family members and friends are a great way to get the word out there and help fundraise for this event,” said Rachel Patek, the director of sponsorship. “Just remember, every child deserves the best.”
There are different hours to coincide with the theme of the dance, “To the Moon and Back for the Kids.”
Sports hour, power hour, throwback hour and rave hour are just some of 12 different hours that are put on to help each participant last throughout the night.
Past TigerTHON’s were held at the West Village Commons ballrooms due to a smaller participation rate. This year’s TigerTHON will be held at all three gyms in Burdick Hall due to the largest participation rate yet.
“We have grown consistently in the last few years,” Woods said. “Having enough people to move from West Village Commons to Burdick Hall is a big thing for us.”
Woods said she became hooked after attending her first TigerTHON meeting during her freshman year.
In the past few years, Woods has been in contact with close family friends who have been diagnosed with cancer or other genetic diseases and have been helped by the medical team at Johns Hopkins.
“In middle school, my neighbor’s 3-year-old daughter had a form of kidney cancer called a Wilms Tumor,” Woods said. “She went into remission and was later diagnosed a second time. My freshmen year of college a close family friend had a daughter, Faith Anne, who was diagnosed before birth with Trisomy 18, a genetic disease that is normally fatal. Faith got the chance to live for 154 beautiful days and was a miracle.”