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Campus & Community

Terp Thon Raises $275K for Children's National Hospital

With Special Guests, Games and Dad Fashion Show, Dance Marathon Closes Out Year of Fundraising

By Lucy Hubbard ’24

People in colorful attire dance on a stage

Terp Thon’s Morale Committee led line dances and broke out in freestyle to keep dancers’ energy up all night long at the annual dance marathon.

Photo by Riley N. Sims Ph.D. ‘23

For one night a year, the thump-thump-thump of students dribbling basketballs through Reckord Armory gets replaced by another: of dancers clad in tutus moving to hits like Taylor Swift’s “Cruel Summer.”

Hundreds of them happily exhausted themselves to the beat for 12 hours on Saturday in the 15th annual Terp Thon, the state of Maryland’s largest student-run philanthropy. The dance marathon was the culmination of a year of fundraising for Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C., bringing in $275,718.60 at its midnight close. Over its history, the student group has raised about $6.5 million for the hospital.

The event also celebrates the “Miracle Kids,” current or past patients at Children’s National; some of them and their families attended Terp Thon, and student dancers handed out baseball cards of the Miracle Kids, complete with a photo and fun fact.

“Today for me is such a standout because of the magic and the passion and the genuine close connection that is happening in the Armory today,” said Lily Hagopian ’24, Terp Thon’s communications director. “[It] makes me not only a proud director of the planning team in that room, but a proud student of the University of Maryland.”

Organizers fired up the crowd with dances ranging from a Zumba lesson set to Camila Cabello’s “Bam Bam” to an hour dedicated to only Swift songs. But they also found other creative ways to keep morale high as the hours ticked by, from a fashion show of Terp Thon members’ dads in the group’s merch to a game of “Are You Smarter Than a K-12 Student?” facing off against the Miracle Kids, There was also a section where participants could write letters to the Miracle Kids, offering messages of hope and positivity for them and their families.

For former Terp Thon Executive Director Christina Pace ’23, this year’s fundraiser marked her first as an alumna participant.

“The 12 hours can definitely be long,” Pace said. “But I honestly truly think it's just magical. It warms my heart and hearing the Miracle Kids’ stories and interacting with some of our corporate sponsors and our alumni coming back, everyone just fosters such a magical environment.”

Scroll down for scenes from a day and night of dancing.

WOmen in green tutus celebrate at a dancse

Jillian Ceritelli ’27 (left) and Caroline Newcomb ’26 react to the yellow team winning the color wars, a fundraising competition for members of the Terp Thon organization leading up to the event. (Photo by Riley N. Sims Ph.D. ‘23)

two women pose for a photo in front of a placard

Anna Devoto (right) gets her picture taken with a friend just steps away from the dance party. (Photo by Jess Daninhirsch '26)

woman in a pink shirt rings a bell

Sarah Rad ’25 rings the bell to celebrate a $100 donation made during a power hour. (Photo by Riley N. Sims Ph.D. ‘23)

three people play life-size Connect 4, the game

Students play life-size Connect 4 at the Miracle Family station. (Photo by Jess Daninhirsch '26)

people dance wildly

Flagging energy and tired feet? The Morale Committee was sent in to get a tired crowd amped up again. (Photo by Riley N. Sims Ph.D. ‘23)

multiple folks hold up a big number and world "terps for kids" on a stage

Terp Thon attendees raised a total of $275,718.60. (Photo by Riley N. Sims Ph.D. ‘23)

people cheer and hold up lights

The crowd lights up the Reckord Armory during the announcement of the total amount raised. (Photo by Riley N. Sims Ph.D. ‘23)

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