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Campus & Community

Dancing for Their Lives

Student-run Terp Thon Raises $500K+ for Children’s National Hospital

By Lauren Brown

Students dance at Terp Thon

Photos by Stephanie S. Cordle

Celina Thomas ’20 wears Terp Thon’s unofficial “business casual” attire—a tutu—as she danced on stage at Saturday’s 11th annual fundraising dance marathon.

In the 12th hour of a 12-hour fundraising danceathon, one sure-fire way to inject a final jolt of energy to hundreds of students with achy feet is to remind them why they came. 

The 11th annual Terp Thon on Saturday saved its Miracle Kids Talent Show for last, welcoming onto the stage children who had endured surgeries, chemotherapy and amputations, and now wanted to strut and belt out, say, Destiny’s Child’s “Bootylicious.”

The more than 850 students at the University of Maryland’s largest student-run charity event clapped and cheered for the former patients at Children’s National Hospital, the beneficiary of the $534,662.54 that Terp Thon raised this year. The organization has netted nearly $5.5 million for the hospital since 2010.

Brooke Titus ’20, a leadership team member who has volunteered with Terp Thon all four of her years at Maryland, said this is what she loves most: “Seeing them on stage and thriving and just being kids despite what they’ve been through … while the students are making the Miracle Kids feel like the superstars that they are.”

About 270 students helped put together this year’s event at the Reckord Armory, which brought together Terps from across campus: Greek life, student groups such as Maryland Imagers, the fitness group Chaarg and the student chapter of the American Marketing Association among them.

They wore neon tees, tutus, head boppers and other gloriously tacky accessories, waved glow sticks and bounced to EDM music during the "Power Hour," and with the football team’s help, unfurled Terp Thon's giant banner over the crowd to reenact the flag drop at UMD sports games.  

And all along, they saluted Mason, Luca, Amanda and the other visiting survivors of pediatric illnesses—the “energizer bunnies” as Titus put it, who motivated them all.

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