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Campus & Community

Terp Thon Raises $251K for Children's National Hospital

More Than 1,000 Participate in Student-run Dance Marathon

By Dylan Manfre M.Jour. ’23

students on stage dancing at Terp thon

Students lead the “morale dance,” which occurs several times throughout the event to keep spirits high, near the end of Saturday’s 14th annual Terp Thon.

Photo by Stephanie S. Cordle

It was hour 11 of a 12-hour dance marathon, when spirits may have flagged and feet were definitely throbbing, when a rave broke out in the Reckord Armory.

Organizers of Terp Thon on Saturday night cranked up the music, turned on the strobe lights and lasers and passed out glow sticks, reenergizing the crowd in one last push to support the “Miracle Kids” treated at D.C.’s Children’s National Hospital.

The largest student-run philanthropy in the state of Maryland, Terp Thon 2023 brought together over 1,000 University of Maryland students for a year of fundraising. It culminated at midnight with the announcement that they had brought in $251,137.93. In its 14-year history, Terp Thon has raised over $6 million.

“I think when people sign up and don’t really understand what (Terp Thon) means, they come here and figure out really quickly because we have this core group of people that are just so passionate about it and willing to share it with other people,” said Membership Chair Grace Yarrow ‘23, who has participated in Terp Thon her entire college career.

Dancers, dressed in neon tutus, superhero capes and other costumes, kept moving and grooving throughout the day and night, with fun distractions like freeze tag, a “dare to cut your hair,” greetings from Maryland Athletics teams, a silent auction and a Zumba class.

Miracle Kids—back in person for the first time since the pandemic—shared their stories of battling their diseases and the care they experienced at the hospital and later took over DJ duties.

The playlist gave the vibe of a throwback Sweet 16 party remixed with today’s hits; songs like “Give Me Everything” and “California Grrls” flowed into “Pepas” and “Danza Kuduro.”

One of the Miracle Kids, Mason, kept pulling on Ethan Kach ’23 as the two laughed hysterically. They met a few years ago and have become close—Kach even attended his 10th birthday party.

“His personality is so heartwarming,” said Kach, who has participated in Terp Thon all four years at UMD. “All the Miracle Kids, the difference we can make for them and just knowing all the stuff they’ve been through that not a lot of people have been through, it’s very rewarding.”

Rest came in the form of “timeout,” where a Miracle Kid could banish a Terp until they raised whatever amount of money the Miracle Kid suggested. Jonah Goldfarb ‘25 spent around 20 minutes in timeout until he raised $15 in “bail” as friends laughed and took photos.

Yarrow added that a lot goes into this event to make it run smoothly, but being there since 6:45 a.m. was worth it.

“I think this is one of the best events in the world,” she said. “At the end of the day, it all comes together because everyone’s just happy to be here.”

Scroll down to see some of Terp Thon's best moves.

Dancers on stage with one raising his hands

Terp Thon dancers clap for miracle kid Chase, hands raised, after he danced on stage with students. (Photo by Stephanie S. Cordle)

two women dance in the middle of a circle of clapping people

Recruitment Chair Sarah Coffman '23, center left, and Greek Relations Chair Victoria Sands '24, center right, dance during Terp Thon 2023. (Photo by Stephanie S. Cordle)

students dance in green light

Everything's gone green on Terp Thon dancers. More than 1,000 turned out for an event that featured strobe lights, lasers and glow sticks. (Photo by Stephanie S. Cordle)

total amount raised sign is displayed, showing $251,000.

Terp Thon’s year of fundraising culminated at the dance marathon with a midnight unveiling of its total. (Photo by Preet Mandavia for Terp Thon)

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