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Elonthon raises money, awareness for Duke Children’s Hospital

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By Julia Sayers

Elon, N.C. – Imagine not being able to sit down for 24 hours. Sounds painful right? But for the past eight years, Elon students found the fatigue to be worth the reward.

Elonthon, Elon University’s 24-hour dance marathon, is a yearlong fundraising event culminating in a dance where students are not allowed to sit or sleep.

Now in its ninth year, Elonthon raises money for Children’s Miracle Network and its affiliate Duke Children’s Hospital. Each event features “miracle children:” children with diseases, injuries or birth defects.

Mason Lindley, a child involved in an unfortunate accident, was the first miracle child of Elon’s event. He attended every Elonthon until he passed away a few years ago. His family still attends each year.

Elonthon is now the campus’ largest philanthropy. Last year 1,200 students danced and the event raised $100,343.96.

Alexandra Lawrence, executive director of Elonthon, said that this year, they are hoping to exceed that amount and the amount of people who sign up.

Students have the option to dance the entire 24 hours or do six-hour shifts. Last year 250 students committed to the full-day dance. In addition to students, there are usually about 16 to 20 miracle families in attendance. About half of these families choose to share their stories during the event. Some organizations, like on-campus fraternities or sororities, sponsor a child. They get to know that specific child and make banners for them.

“It’s really cool to see the children look up to the college kids,” Lawrence said. “They’re like celebrities to them.”

There are activities including free food, entertainment, gaming systems, photobooths, inflatables and games for students and families to enjoy during shifts.

“We try to make a lot of different options available to keep people’s minds off of their tiredness,” Lawrence said.

Elonthon is the only event that doesn’t have a budget, since everything is made possible through donations.

“Best Buy has been really great,” Lawrence said. “Last year, they donated a Wii, Xbox 360 and two TVs. This year, they’re going to donate an Xbox Kinect.”

Other entertainment includes Elon’s a cappella groups, DJs and entertainers.

“We always try to switch it up,” Lawrence said. “Last year, Miss North Carolina spoke and we had SkipSations, a jump rope group from Chapel Hill.”

The DJs chosen are family-friendly and play upbeat, fast music.

“We want the music to make people want to dance and have a good time and not think about the fact they’re standing for 24 hours,” Lawrence said.

Each year, Elonthon has a theme, and this year’s theme is based on the Adidas logo. The motto is “For the kids, impossible is nothing.”

“We want to play music that relates to the sports theme so we’ll play songs like ‘All I Do Is Win,'” Lawrence said. “We try to incorporate it as much as possible. It makes it fun for the little kids who come.”

During each shift, a coordinated dance, called the “morale dance,” is taught. The morale chair makes up the dance and teaches it to the board and committee prior to the event. During the event, the dance is taught to the attendees.

“It really brings the event together and keeps the morale up,” Lawrence said.

This year, Elonthon starts at 6 p.m. on April 8 and ends the next day at 6 p.m. Students can register with an organization or individually online at org.elon.edu/elonthon.

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Written by juliasayers

February 23, 2011 at 1:38 pm

One Response

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  1. Love the lead! You should get a photo from last year’s THON, there are probably hundreds of them out there that you could use. Also the use of subheds or a pull-out quote would dress this up and make it more readable and accessible. Give your readers many points of entry. Another thing you could do would be an infobox with the time, day, place for Elonthon.

    Janna

    February 25, 2011 at 7:46 pm


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