Baylor students dance the night away for local children’s hospital

FTK officers teach volunteers the 2017 BUthon dance. Baylee VerSteeg | Multimedia Journalist

By Holly Luttrell | Reporter

Baylor University’s For the Kids organization’s third annual BU-THON event helped raise money for a local children’s hospital with food, games and an eight-hour dance party.

The dance marathon took place from 6 p.m. Friday to 2 a.m. Saturday in Russell Gym. Dancers raised funds to donate to the Children’s Miracle Network, benefiting the patients at the Baylor Scott & White McLane Children’s Hospital in Temple. Members of For the Kids, volunteers from around campus and children from the local hospital all showed up to dance together.

Russell Gym was decorated with streamers and balloons for the dance marathon. Game booths were set up around the perimeter of the gym surrounding the dance floor, which was brought to life by a colorful lighting design and upbeat songs from the DJ table. Attendees could dance, have their face painted, write a letter to children in the hospital, visit a photo booth, play games like Mario Kart, Jenga or corn hole and mingle over Pizza Hut and Chick-Fil-A food.

Carpentersville, Ill., sophomore and For the Kids member Cameron Wilson welcomed everyone to the event by reminding them of the importance of their work. Each dancer had to collect donations from their friends and families in order to participate. These donations go to the Children’s Miracle Network to help provide playgrounds, games, toys and other gifts for children at Baylor Scott and White Hospital.

Representatives and families from the hospital were in attendance to encourage the dancers and show that their fund-raising makes a difference.

“What you’re doing, this is a concrete example right here,” said Melanie Trojanowski as she motioned to her daughter, Paisley, who is a patient at the McLane Children’s Hospital. “Your money turns into such great things for the kids.”

Volunteers from For the Kids and other organizations around campus helped the event run smoothly. Flower Mound senior Corrie Tung and Driftwood sophomore Andrea Delgado were happy to volunteer for an event they felt invested in.

“I’m with the Association for Pre-Pharmacy Students,” said Tung. “I’m one of the service chairs, so I thought this was actually a really good opportunity because pharmacy is about helping people get better and feel better, and I’m also really passionate about helping kids so this was perfect.”

Delgado has been helping at dance marathon events since high school.

“One of my best friends organized the first ‘THON’ for our high school, and I helped her out with it. I think I’ve always had a connection with it,” Delgado said. “I love communities, and I feel like being able to help this community is something I’ve loved, so that’s why I wanted to volunteer.”

St. Louis sophomore and For the Kids member Julia Tackes explained that the first ‘THON’ dance marathon was held in 1991 at Indiana University in honor of Ryan White. White contracted AIDS from a contaminated blood transfusion and passed away the summer before he would have attended Indiana University. His friends honored him by holding the first dance marathon event to benefit the local hospital, Tackes explained.

According to Tackes, dance marathon events now benefit over 170 Children’s Miracle Networks across the country. Over 25 years after the first dance marathon was held, the BU-THON is one of over 300 nationwide dance marathon events that bring volunteers and families from local hospitals together for a good cause.