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#ForTheKids: Countdown to Big Red Thon 2017

As a long time dancer, lover of children, aspiring medical physician, and philanthropic activist, in signing up for Big Red Thon 2015, our very first Dance Marathon at Cornell (or heck even in the Ivy League) I should have known I would find myself a home there. I always talk about the intersectionality of our event, how everyone can find something about Big Red Thon that makes it worthwhile for them! Whether it’s a commitment to community service, passion for children, desire to pursue a career in medicine, or love for dancing: the beauty of Big Red Thon, is that you can have a connection to all, one or even none of those things and still find comfort, acceptance and purpose in participating in a campus wide event #For The Kids.

My freshman year, Big Red Thon’s first year of existence, I remember registering via Donor Drive for the event, hardly fundraising ($90 by the date of the event 3 weeks later) and making my way to Barton Hall a bit after opening ceremony. Although I was intrigued by this idea of a DM (Dance Marathon) on our own Cornell campus, I had no idea what I was really in for.

In walking into the space everything changed. Over the next few hours of my participation in the event, I came not only fall in love with the fulfilled, energetic nature of the event, but with the cause itself: Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and specifically, Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital. I got to hear firsthand from the “miracle children” of the hospital and their families why exactly this cause is so meaningful and important. Additionally, being in a space where everyone has one unified end mission: raising funds For The Kids, is so incredibly powerful.

Flash forward to my spring semester freshman year when I applied for the executive board to help plan the next Big Red Thon. I walked in to interviewed with Ally Hill, herself (who at the time, I did not realize, but had been the mastermind and executive director behind Big Red Thon 2015), answered a number of questions about myself and my desire to partake in orchestrating Big Red Thon, and was notified several days later that I would be Head of Morale for Big Red Thon 2016. Although I was excited to be on the board, I also had initial confusion on what my job would entail. After reading the job description, which essentially boiled down to primary cheerleader, dance leader and hype girl for BRT, my apprehension subsided.

Leading Morale Team was probably one of my most rewarding jobs to date. Leading up to the “big event” I was our motivator, constantly pushing not only our executive board team to fundraise and share the importance of BRT and our efforts through the fall semester, but really all of our registrants! It also required leading by example. Last year for our 2016 dance marathon, I raised $1,995, just five dollars shy of two thousand. I was honored to be able to make and lead the morale dance in event itself. And incredibly honored to have the opportunity to work with my phenomenal morale team, composed primarily of Phi Mu sisters and a wonderful group of APO pledges to help! I meet with the pledge team a number of times before the event to create and teach the routine. And let me say- we rocked it! I think everyone in the room was at least attached to the morale dance on some level by the final hour of the big event. How could you not with fun-loving people, like Kate Saulenas, up on stage coaching you through. It was an incredible bonding experience for myself, and, I think, a great time for everyone involved.

This year, although I had traded in my spot as Head of Morale for Executive Director, our morale chair Madeline Johnson, has another amazing hype dance prepared for everyone! (If you would like to participate, please contact Maddy as soon as possible at mj435).

After our year in Willard Straight Hall after the building being closed to resurface the track, we are back to where it all began! This year’s event is in Barton Hall November 11th (THIS SATURDAY) from 2-10PM. We will be saving lives, one birthday at a time- so be sure to come join us for the party! But at the end of the day, the affect that we make is far beyond just having a fun time and celebrating with each other, it’s the impact we make on every single child of Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital where us Cornell students, have financed an entire room in the emergency wing due to our efforts! We have and continue to make change though our actions and fundraising efforts #For The Kids, for the 100,000 children served by Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital each and every year. Thank you for all that you do, and SO excited to dance with you on Saturday!

-Erin Grohe, Executive Director of Big Red Thon

Some Big Red Thon photos from throughout the years!