Annual SpartanTHON expands community impact


Courtesy Alicia Moody

Over 350 dancers joined the annual SpartanTHON dance marathon to raise money for childrens in the Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital. Over $85,000 were raised this year.

Roxanne Yang, Staff Reporter

The annual philanthropic event, SpartanTHON, occured last Saturday, Feb. 11 in the Tinkham Veale University Center Ballroom. From noon to midnight, over 350 dancers stayed on their feet, dancing for donations and raising $85,096.76 for Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital.

Alicia Moody, public relations director, joined SpartanTHON in her freshman year. She recalled that her first time participating was hard. However, it was “a cool kind of hard,” as Moody remembered, with everyone exhausted but still dancing.

Moody’s favorite part of SpartanTHON is seeing how they can really make an impact on the kids money is being raised for. Moody has been in touch with families who have been treated at Rainbow Babies, or the “miracle families,” like they are usually called, since she started to plan SpartanTHON. Moody had an opportunity to speak with the miracle kids, find out their favorite Disney characters and help them dress as characters.

“This year, one of our miracle kids felt so comfortable with us that she got up on stage and started dancing.” Moody said. She thought that was one of the coolest moments that she has seen at a SpartanTHON.

Kids aren’t the only ones who benefit from SpartanTHON. The dancers also had a great time.

“Dancing with the Sigma Psi sisters for this cause was amazing,”said Shireen Bhatia, a third-year student, who registered to dance with her sorority.

There is a minimum donation requirement of $50 per dancer. However, Moody thinks raising this amount is a lot easier than it appears to be, since there are many events to help dancers achieve that goal.

“We go canning throughout the year, and I actually went canning at one of the Cavs games during the summer,” said Moody. “People would walk by and say ‘My kids were at Rainbow’ and donate.”

There was also a lot of fundraising during SpartanTHON. One of the miracle kids, Victor, would run around and tag people with sticky notes to put them in “jail” and they’d need to make phone calls to raise money before they could get back to dancing.

“A lot of people are connected to Rainbow and [other] children’s hospitals,” Moody said. “One in 10 children in the US have been in the children’s hospitals. So I think that’s something that resonates, and people may be surprised how willing [others] are to support this cause.”

“As someone who has been in Cleveland for nearly her whole life, Rainbow Babies has been a cause close to my own heart,” said Bhatia.

SpartanTHON had not only the support of student dancers, but also the entire community. Panda Express donated enough food, over $1,700 in total, to feed all the dancers at the dance marathon. SpartanTHON also featured student performance groups and many community members stopped by.
SpartanTHON also worked with high schools for the first time this year. They helped Avon Lake High School host their first dance marathon, during which the school raised over $6,000.