RAYthon: Dancing for a Cause

Dora Kreitzer, Assistant News Editor

On March 26, Dance Marathon will host the University’s first-ever RAYthon — a student-led event combining dancing, games, food and fun into one philanthropic experience. All money fundraised leading up to and during Saturday’s event will be donated to our local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital: the Janet Weis Children’s Hospital in Danville.

“Dance Marathon is a great way to rally the entire campus behind a good cause, so I would love to see this program grow and become an annual tradition on Bucknell’s campus. It’s also an opportunity to connect with the local children’s hospital and give back to the community. It’s always so inspiring to hear the stories of the Miracle Kids that we support,” April Hurlock ’23 said, Executive Director of the University’s Dance Marathon.

Dance Marathon is a nation-wide organization of more than 300,000 students that raises money and awareness for over 170 Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, with all of the money they raise going towards the hospitals’ dire needs, including medical equipment, treatments, support for Miracle children and families, special services, education and research for cures. 

At the event itself, students can expect performances from We Break for Nobody, Beyond Unison, Bison Girls, the Bisonettes, the Redneck Rangers and Brent Papson. There will also be free food, merch giveaways, karaoke and a DJ. Miracle Kids and representatives from the hospital will also be making appearances so students can engage more with them and see who they are helping. The event ends with a grand reveal of the amount of money raised by the community. 

“Students can look forward to a lot of dancing, a great time and a really meaningful experience that will help plenty of children in hospitals in the area,” Public Relations Chair Emilie Tristano ’24 said.

For students, faculty, friends and family looking to get involved, they can sign up for a Donor Drive profile which generates a link that they can send to their networks for donations and track how much they raise. It is also possible to register as a team, which a few clubs have already done. At certain benchmarks, students can earn free rewards — t-shirts, sweatshirts, thermoses, water bottles and fanny packs — at different donor levels. Students can sign up now or register at the event. 

“I know that Bucknell is an extremely passionate and service-oriented community. Dance Marathon is a great way to get involved and support our local children in need. I would highly recommend this organization – it has been an extraordinarily rewarding experience to see the funds that we’ve raised impact the hospital and children’s health for the better,” Hurlock said.

While this is the first-ever RAYthon, this is not the first Dance Marathon event on our campus. Last year, given COVID-19 restrictions, they hosted a spirit week, which included collaborations with downtown businesses, professor challenges and a virtual 5K. It successfully raised over $3,000. Striving to maintain community service and outreach for the Janet Weis Children’s Hospital, on the first Monday of October, the club celebrated Child Health Day, making cards for the pediatric patients and beginning the campaigning and fundraising for RAYthon. They have also done virtual storybook readings that got sent to the children around the holidays. 

“I hope that this event will be the final key in associating fun and energetic event with DM at Bucknell and further instill campus-wide interest and involvement,” External Director Cara LeCoz said. “This will be an amazing philanthropy opportunity for current Bucknell students and the community. We would greatly appreciate your support in any way to help promote RAYthon as we seek to establish it as an annual tradition at Bucknell… the kids can’t wait!”

RAYthon will be held March 26, 5-9 p.m. in Larison Dining Hall. You can register for the Donor Drive or directly donate online.

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