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12 Hours of Tutus and Sore Tootsies

Terp Thon Raises $275K for ‘Miracle Kids’

By Shannon Clark M.Jour. ’22

dancers in tutus and event t-shirts on stage vigorously dancing

With Terp Thon's end approaching and feet throbbing, a Power Hour began at 10 p.m. with steering committee members on stage tossing glow sticks to the dancers and Miracle Kid Mason spinning the tunes from a livestream.

Photos by Stephanie S. Cordle

Think you could last 12 hours dancing your heart out in a neon tutu, Crocs and a headband with antennae? Participants at the University of Maryland’s 13th annual Terp Thon on Saturday bopped until they dropped, dabbled in arts and crafts, and even got thrown into “time out” all to raise money for Children’s National Hospital.

Since 2010, the dance marathon—the largest student-run philanthropy in the state—has brought in over $5.7 million for the D.C. medical center’s “Miracle Kids,” and with the help of over 1,000 Terps this year, added another $274,851.53.

Everyone who collected at least $120 was invited to spend the day and night at Reckord Armory as a Dr. Bear Dancer, with each dancer cheering on past and present patients—the Miracle Kids—and bringing their own story of why they are part of Terp Thon.

“My cousin has a son who had to have heart surgery right after he was born, so I could see from that experience how much it can affect families,” said Allie Welch ‘24.

The event kicked off with a Morale Dance to get dancers into the spirit, with student-led organizations, alums and individual dancers uniting in a coordinated effort to represent the vast Terp Thon community. “A “Dare to Cut Your Hair” challenge, battle of the bands, silent auction, talent show and free food kept the energy up.

“I’ve been here since 10 a.m. and hopefully I get a second wind with some food, but seeing the smile on the Miracle Kids’ faces is keeping me going,” said Ethan Kach ‘23. “I had a great connection during the dance marathon my freshman year with one of the Miracle Kids, Mason, and his story opened up my world. I’m back for the kids.”

While the marathon was back in person this year after a virtual version in 2021, the Miracle Kids and families couldn’t attend due to COVID-19 precautions. Instead, an all-day livestream allowed them to pop in and share their stories, and Mason took over as deejay during a Power Hour.

“In addition to raising vital funds and awareness for the hospital, we are really able to create a platform where our Miracle Kids can shine,” said Jake Maggid ‘22, Terp Thon’s communications director.

The fundraising and awareness doesn’t start or end with the dance marathon. Throughout the year, the team holds events like field day or runs smaller fundraisers for specific needs at the hospital. Most recently, Terp Thon raised $30,000 to purchase a new ventilator.

“Fighting for the children isn’t a one-day event when we come together for 12 hours. It’s all day, every day,” Maggid said.

Terp Thon participants onstage hold aloft signs showing total money raised

With last night’s total, the student-run Terp Thon organization has raised nearly $6 million for Children’s National Hospital in 12 years.

Dancer walks about ina big orange foam cowboy hat

Sophomore William Dickstein, even in a foam cowboy hat, blends in with the crowd during Terp Thon, where bright and wacky attire is the norm.

In a line of dancer, one cuts a hospital type wristband off another

Terp Thon events chair Maggie Ellington ’22 cuts the symbolic hospital band off of freshman Maya Grossman to mark the midnight conclusion of the marathon.

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