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Natalie Brown

This past weekend was the 5th annual Big Red Thon event, Cornell’s annual dance marathon! The event truly could not have been possible without the support of the brotherhood–as volunteers, dancers, and fundraisers. Volunteers helped with the setup and cleanup of Barton, and got to take part in all the fun in-between, dancing badly for a good cause!!! This year’s theme was “Out of this World,” since one of the floors of our local children’s hospital, Upstate Golisano, is also themed like space. APO brothers got to meet 2 “Miracle Families” and listen to their stories, reminding us why we work so hard to help make events like this happen.

Through Thon’s work with Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital, Cornell students get to work in direct communication with the greater upstate community and see an immediate impact. Sharing these children’s stories and raising awareness for the great work done at Golisano is a true privilege. In the past 5 years we have been able to give over $110,000 to help treat kids that need it most. One of the best parts of Thon is the clearly visible impact we have on our community outside of Cornell. Big Red Thon reflects APO’s values by allowing Cornell students to be actively involved in supporting a struggle within the local community. Our organization, including APO volunteers, educates the Cornell student body on the funding challenges many major hospitals face. These challenges are even more pressing for Upstate Golisano, given the vast population it serves and that it receives only 5% of its funding from the state. This hospital provides vital services to this community, being the region’s only level one pediatric trauma and burn center, and is the closest children’s hospital to Ithaca. We seek to educate participants on both the bravery of the pediatric patients who are treated there, and the conditions that hospitals like Golisano are able to alleviate.