Sun. Jul 14th, 2024

Photo Credits: Christopher Heffernan 

On Sunday Nov. 13 from 1 to 7 p.m., West Chester University Dance Marathon, a nonprofit organization on campus, hosted RamThon, an event that raises money and awareness for children’s health. They also have smaller scale fundraisers, meetings and events throughout the year that lead up to their main event each November. 

“I am incredibly proud of our entire team, along with all of our donors, family, friends and participants for the immense support they have shown our organization from the start of the year,” said Sammi Rudner, the Event Operations Chair. “Dance Marathon is truly a family! Being able to dance with our miracle children was one of the biggest highlights for me at this year’s RamThon. Seeing their bright and beautiful smiles sums up why I love this event, and this organization perfectly! Changing kids’ health will change the future.”

RamThon is a 6 hour no-sitting event where various performers, food options, vendors, games and families are there to share their stories. The no sitting is to signify that nothing compares to the discomfort a child goes through in the hospital and around 100 students attended the event to support the cause. 

With this being their third year of RamThon at West Chester, their first year was online due to Covid and last year was the first official event in person. They were able to raise over $21,000 last year and are looking forward to entering their fourth year. 

This organization is affiliated with Miracle Network; a philanthropic movement, uniting students at over 400 colleges, universities and high schools across North America. As a fundraising program for the local CMN Hospital, each campus’s Dance Marathon organization works throughout the year to raise funds and awareness to benefit the hospital treating sick and injured kids right in the school’s local community. 

West Chester University Dance Marathon was founded in 2020 by a group of students eager to support the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Each year the executive board chooses what department the funding will go to at CHOP; 100% of what is raised goes directly to that department in the hospital. This year we chose to donate to the oncology department at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, however, every year the club is able to choose a new department for the funds to be donated to. 

Students were able to register in advance on “DonorDrive” which is the club’s fundraising platform. Once registered, they were guaranteed free entry into the main event. For students who did not register in advance, it was a $10 entry fee. Every student received a free T-shirt with the entry fee, or due to pre-registration on Donordrive. 

In total, the event raised $30,273.45 which 100% of that total will be donated to the oncology department at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. 

To make the event more exhilarated, a few student clubs on campus including Under A Rest, High Street Harmonix, Ram Cheer, WCU Dance Team, The Irish Dance Team, and Miss WCU Julie Stinson put on a show to entertain guests.

The event also “allowed us to create so many connections across campus. Throughout the event we also hosted a cornhole tournament, minute-to-win-it games, karaoke and so many more exciting things,” said Gowman.

Due to Dance Marathon’s affiliation with Miracle Network Hospitals, they donated directly to The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. For every dollar donated to a Children’s Miracle Network Hospital, 18% goes toward charitable care, 15% goes toward life-saving equipment, 12% supports medical research, and 55% provides education, patient services and advancement services. 

The people who run the group said they felt “very fortunate to host our Miracle Families at our event.” Many families who are being treated at CHOP come to share their stories and share just how impactful our donations are. They also said how it was “truly inspiring to see firsthand how life changing our donations and support can be.”

The face paint, tinsel and bracelet making booths were all free as people volunteered their time and the clothing booth donated a percentage of profits back to the organization! All of the food was from donors, and that was the same for the raffle baskets which they charged to raise money for the grand total. With their entry fee, participants were able to enjoy all of the activities, games, obstacle courses and food free of charge, and then their raffle baskets and clothing booth contributed to the event total. 

“I could not ask for a better group of people to lead this year,” stated Emily Gowman, the Executive Director. “Since we are still such a new organization on campus it required the team to be flexible and to take initiative. I’m so proud of every exec member, captain and participant at RamThon. We could not have done this without the support of family, friends, donors, and WCU administration. I cannot wait to continue to see this organization grow! WCU RamThon strives to make every individual feel included, important and recognized. We pride ourselves on our optimism and are excited to continue to change kids’ health to change the future.” 

The organization also said, “We are so grateful for WCU staff for helping us to plan such a successful event. We wanted to give a special shoutout to Kimmy Farrer, Cara Jenkins, Jordan Maxwell, Kiara Gunzamos, Donna Snyder and Laure Sheehan. And of course all of the Sykes staff for their assistance in setting up and day of needs.” 

Sean Wattman is a second-year psychology major with a minor in journalism. 

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