Texas THON dance marathon raises money for Dell Children’s Medical Center

Alexander Mansky

Over 70 people danced to the blare of pop music in Gregory Gymnasium yesterday, while a neon lit sign that read “For the Kids” stood above them on stage, as a part of the Texas THON annual dance marathon to raise money for Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas.

Michael Richardson, Texas THON vice president of recruitment, said the dance marathon is the last day of fundraising for 2020, and the 2021 fundraising year begins the next day. At 10 p.m., the members held up a poster with the amount of money that they raised for 2020. 

Richardson said this event was important to THON because various miracle kids, or patients who had received help from Dell Children’s, participated in the event. Each hour multiple miracle kids would share stories about their conditions, and then danced with everyone.

Public health freshman Nondisha Sarkar is a member of Texas THON, and said she loved the event because it showed them the amount of money they made and the people they helped.

“It’s really rewarding to see the number we raised at the end, but the most fulfilling thing is hearing the miracle kids’ stories. Every hour they come on stage and talk about their conditions and their personal stories,” Sarkar said. “It’s really amazing to see and be with who we are helping.”

Biology senior Michael Richardson said THON has transformed into a huge nonprofit on campus and in the state of Texas since it started in 2001. He said the event began to grow when they partnered with UT RecSports ten years ago.  

“We are so grateful for everything that (RecSports) give us,” Richardson said. “They give us the entire gym. Their staff helps us clean. Our really big break out year was in 2016, we raised $288,000 and we’ve been six figures ever since … I’m hoping for over $150,000 this year, I think we’ll definitely get that.”

Aksha Bagepally, the director of member development, said her favorite part was the morale dance, a choreographed dance they did every hour.

“It’s really fun,” said Bagepally, a government and biology junior. “We learn it on stage and get everyone involved to learn it, in order to hype people up again and also let the miracle makers, who are all the students in Texas THON external or internal, feel involved.”