Saturday, April 6th, students gathered together in the old gym in the HPER center for Wittenberg University’s second annual TigerThon fundraiser, sponsored by the Children Miracle Network; the fundraiser itself is in the form of a dance marathon, with the benefactor of the local Dayton Children’s Hospital.
Dance Marathon is a nationwide movement to support hospitals within the network. Last year this fundraiser raised over ten-thousand dollars for the kids. TigerThon is one of hundreds of dance marathons across North America; the main event of any Dance Marathon is a 6-40 hour long dance marathon ,in which students will dance and celebrate by standing for the children who can’t.
TigerThon Vice President Kaitlin LaPlant, ’16, admitted that these marathons are challenging, but stated: “they serve to remind participants that dancing for hours one day of the year is nowhere near as difficult as the daily challenges faced by children in hospitals around the country.”
The main event kicked off with the introduction of the morale captains, each color team representing different sororities and dorms across campus. Each captain, dressed in corresponding colors in groups of two, stated their names and their personal reasons for dancing. The event consisted of dancing, of course, but also yoga, hourly challenges, choreography, cornhole, four-square, raffle tickets and photo-prop fun.
Participants were introduced to two of several of the families that fundraisers such as these provide miracles for throughout the event, who shared their stories and reminded participants why they are dancing. The Neef family, one of the first the participants were introduced to, shared when their everyday life shook after an unexpected incident with their youngest daughter Amanda that father Craig described as being caused by a tangle of abnormally developed arteries in her brain. She was rushed to Dayton Children’s Hospital, and that’s where the miracle began; she was placed into a coma and was clinically brain dead for seven days. She is a strong young lady, who woke up and, in her father’s words, much to their “happiness and much to our surprise” Amanda recognized of each them. Despite damage to the right side of her brain, she was able to walk again, run again and jump again, and fundraisers like these and the doctors and surgeons at Dayton Children’s are a large part of this miracle. The connection that each participant felt to the children personally after learning of their struggles was priceless, and truly reiterated what TigerThon and all dance marathons are supporting.
The dance marathon is hours of fundraising, food, dancing and activities, but, there’s more to it than that; dance marathon raises funds year-round through various events. TigerThon alone hosted two dine-to-donate events – one at Buffalo Wild Wings and the other at Chipotle – and in combination between those two events and TigerThon, the executive board of the event is proud to say that students and community members raised $8,017.73 for the kids.