Terp Thon For the Heroes Week: honoring family, friends and fighters

By Ally Tobler

University of Maryland students honored individuals they consider to be inspirational and compassionate in honor of Terp Thon’s For the Heroes Week, which was ongoing from Nov. 6 to 10.

For the Heroes Week not only raised awareness about Terp Thon’s 12-hour dance marathon event on March 3, but promoted expressing gratitude towards others who make this day possible.

Terp Thon hosted several events on Hornbake Plaza during For the Heroes Week from Nov. 6 to 10.

“For the Heroes Week is really about serving all of the people that make Terp Thon what it is, and help us reach our goals every year,” said Terp Thon morale chair Amy Gill, a senior marketing and communications major. “We just want to show our appreciate for them…whether that be our dancers at our event, our donors, our corporate university sponsors, friends and family that share things on Facebook…really anybody in the community that supports us.”

Terp Thon hosted a small event every day, which included hearing from Children’s National Health System, giveaways, food, honoring “heroes” on social media and a flash mob.

Every year, Terp Thon hosts a promotion week with a different theme. Last year, the theme was “Miracle Madness.”

“This year we wanted to steer it in a more stewardship direction, so that’s how we got this idea,” said Gill.

Freshman math and science education major Kieran O’Connor, who is a member of Terp Thon’s Recruitment Committee, said likes the theme for more than just the ability to wear a superhero mask.

“I think it’s really cool, because the kids are our heroes, but we can also look at ourselves as our own heroes as we do this work,” she said.

Kieran O’Connor helps to recruit Terp Thon participants on Hornbake Plaza.

On Friday, students “chalked their walk” on Hornbake Plaza by writing down the names of those who they wish to honor as they raise money for Terp Thon, according to O’Connor.

Sophomore journalism major Analeigh Hughes, a member of Terp Thon’s Public Relations Committee, wanted to honor Children’s National Health System Miracle Families, families of the children treated at the hospital.

“Last year was my first time on the Terp Thon planning team, and I got to hear a lot of their stories during the year leading up to Terp Thon and at the event itself,” Hughes said. “[The children’s parents] really just reminded me of my parents and how they would do anything for me, and seeing parents like that really inspired me.”

Junior English and art history major Gemma Kim, who is a member of Terp Thon’s Public Relations Committee, chalked “Terps” on the ground in honor of For the Heroes Week.

“I feel like as a school, we should be a role model for this organization and be working towards helping and being for the kids,” Kim said.

Gemma Kim chalks “Terps” onto the ground of Hornbake Plaza.

Honored heroes also extended beyond those involved in Terp Thon.

Terp Thon Fundraising Chair and sophomore elementary education major Elizabeth McKinley chose to honor her grandmother as her hero.

“I actually lost my grandma this summer and she lived with us,” McKinley said. “We were all super close, and she’s always been an idol of mine. She was always a very giving person.”

Aside from raising awareness and getting students to honor their heroes, members of Terp Thon reached another big goal: registering 1,000 people for the event in March. According to O’Connor, that was another goal to hit by the end of the week, but the organization did so on the first day of the week-long event.

Terp Thon’s next objective is to raise $100,000 during their Day of Miracles event, which will go from Nov. 16 to 17.

Terp Thon registration table covered with giveaways and chalk.

“It’s 24 hours where we dedicate everything that we’re doing to raising $100,000 to go towards our goal of $1.1 million,” O’Connor said.

Terp Thon this year, according to Gill, is going to be bigger and better than the event held last year.

“We have a lot of fun things in the works, [and] a lot of fun surprises, so I’m not going to give any of that away,” she said. “But definitely be on the lookout for some big announcements about our dance marathon.”


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