Zumbathon has students busting a move to show support for local children’s hospital

TerpThon, a student-run fundraising organization, collaborated with Terps After Dark and hosted a Zumba marathon in Eppley on Thursday night. When the doors opened, the enthusiastic students poured into the gym, grabbed some glow-in-the-dark accessories, and shook and shimmied for a great cause. The instructors took turns leading the participants through two hours of Zumba routines, accompanied by a live DJ.

TerpThon hosts many events throughout the year, all of which raise money for patients and families of Children’s National Health System, a hospital in Washington DC.

Lara White, a recent UMD graduate, was one of the Zumba instructors at the Zumbathon. White was a part of TerpThon for four years, and still continues to come to the events as an alumnus.

“My first year I just went to the event—the 12 hour dance marathon in the Spring—and kind of fell in love with the kids—the miracle children that come—fell in love with just the passion of the organization, and it’s just been an amazing experience.”

On Saturday, the organization hosted its annual Festival of Hope. This five-kilometer run raised money for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Over 700 students participated in the colorful event. At various points throughout the race, the “miracle children” got to throw colorful powdered chalk on the runners. The event began with a ceremony honoring the children and their families.

White claims the festival was a success, “It was great! They had an awesome turnout; they had like 15 miracle children come, which is the most they’ve ever had.”

The Zumbathon was also a success. The students left the gym smiling and sweating. One participant, Abigail, a freshman mechanical engineering major, said, “My favorite part was probably just being able to get together with a bunch of people and have fun dancing.”

In the spring, TerpThon will host their largest annual event: a 12-hour dance marathon. At this marathon, they announce their grand total of how much money they raised for the year.

Jane Ritt, a senior on TerpThon’s board of directors, enthusiastically shared, “Our total last year was $728,000. We’re the ninth top miracle network dance marathon in the nation.” Ritt also added that TerpThon is the youngest miracle network dance marathon organization in the nation’s top ten and also the fastest growing. Ritt claims that being a part of TerpThon is an amazing experience, “Personally, I’ve found that it’s absolutely transformed my experience at the University of Maryland, but also my life. I think I’ve found out through this experience how dedicated and passionate the students at the University of Maryland are.”

Kaiwei Hsu, a senior at UMD and the executive director of TerpThon, would like everyone at Maryland to be a part of TerpThon, “Seeing all these University of Maryland students come together and fundraise for this hospital, that’s just such an incredible place for these kids, is so amazing. And I believe that every student should get involved.”

If you would like to get involved in TerpThon, you can go to terpthon.org and register for this spring’s dance marathon, which will be held on March 4th.

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