Texas THON hosts 12-hour dance marathon to benefit Dell Children’s Medical Center

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Students sign a wall made by Texas THON in the front of Gregory Gym on Wednesday. Texas THON is a philanthropic organization that raises money for Dell Children’s Hospital, which provides treatment to all children, regardless of their ability to pay.

Photo Credit: Yaguang Zhu | Daily Texan Staff

To prepare for its 11th annual 12-hour dance marathon, Texas THON invited students to sign a wall to express their support for patients at Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas.

Texas THON is a student organization dedicated to raising awareness and money for Dell Children’s Medical Center by hosting a dance marathon every year. This year’s marathon will be Feb. 16 and the wall will be on display in Gregory Gym during the marathon. At the marathon, students pledge to stand for 12 hours straight in honor of patients that are unable to stand.

At Wednesday’s event, students and faculty signed the “Why We Stand” wall to explain why they participate in the dance marathon.

“I stand because I feel we are making a statement,” Rhonda Cox, Texas THON faculty adviser, said.

Dell Children’s hospital provides treatment to children from 46 counties, regardless of their ability to pay. Last year Texas THON raised $50,839.51. Cox said the goal is to raise $100,000 this year.

Cox said the children that overcome adversity inspire her passion for Texas THON. After a Texas THON benefit dinner, she gave Harley, a 14-year-old whose brain tumor is causing him to gradually lose his vision, a ride home.

“Even though he is blind, he is so engaged in what is going on,” Cox said. “He doesn’t see it as a deterrent.”

She said the organization hosts the event to help children overcome their medical conditions.

Several colleges across the nation host dance marathons to benefit Children’s Miracle Network, a foundation that aims to raise funds for children’s health care in local communities. Texas THON raises money for Dell Children’s hospital through the Children’s Miracle Network.

Kip Holmes, Children’s Miracle Network coordinator, said the hospital had 135,000 visits by children seeking medical attention last year.

“I feel like I have the dream job of the world because I get to raise money to help sick kids,” Holmes said.

She said Children’s Miracle Network is trying to raise $11 million to go toward building a new wing at Dell Children’s hospital. She said the group is also trying to raise funds for a magnetoencephalography, or MEG. The MEG is an ultra-precise imaging device for the brain, which Holmes said will enhance treatment for children with epilepsy and brain tumors.

Aaron Aranda, psychology sophomore and Texas THON member, said the event shows how students can make an impact.

“I stand for kids who are always in the hospital,” Aranda said.

He said when the marathon’s 12 hours are complete, the immense relief he feels when he sits down is knowing that he helped.

UT students and faculty who participate in the event are called “miracle makers.” To register for the event, miracle makers raise $100 to donate to the cause. Texas THON hosts several fundraising events through the year in addition to its dance marathon. Last week the organization raised $1,092 at THON Pancake Night.

Printed on Thursday, October 18, 2012 as: Texas THON dancers raise funds for children