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Terp Thon Triumph

Student-run dance marathon raises more than $1M for children’s hospital

By Lauren Brown


Preet Mandavia

Preet Mandavia

University of Maryland students just gave sick children and their families more than a million reasons to have hope.

Saturday’s eighth annual Terp Thon Dance Marathon raised $1,001,394, exceeding its ambitious million-dollar goal—and crushing last year’s total by 38 percent—for Children’s National Health System in Washington, D.C.

The 12-hour event, which culminated a year of fundraising by the state’s largest student philanthropic group, drew more than 3,000 participants for high-energy dancing and inspirational story sharing by some of the Miracle Kids who have been or are still undergoing treatment at the hospital.

Executive Director Kaiwei Hsu ’17, who started attending Terp Thon as a high schooler when her younger brother, incoming Terp Jaiwen, was a Miracle Kid himself, explains that every Terp participant stands for the 12 hours of the event. That represents the length of a nurse’s shift at the hospital.

“Everything we do is for the kids,” she says. “If nurses can stand for 12 hours for these kids, the students of the University of Maryland can stand for them for 12 hours too.”

Terp Thon now ranks among the nation’s Top 10 highest Miracle Network Dance Marathon fundraising programs, and is the youngest event of its kind to hit the $1 million milestone.

Hsu shares some highlights of this year’s event in this photo gallery. To support Terp Thon, visit

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Terp Thon’s Planning Team includes more than 300 students working on 21 committees. The Morale Committee takes the stage at the top of every hour to teach the crowd a segment of a choreographed dance. By the end, the crowd performs the entire dance together. Credit: Preet Mandavia

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