Rock your body for charity

Rachel Nearhoof / IC

Rachel Nearhoof / IC

Mariah Williams, Staff Reporter

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Grab your lime green tights and tutus: It’s time to dance for the kids.

The University of Toledo is celebrating RockeTHON’s 16th anniversary this year. RockeTHON is a 13-hour dance marathon full of activities, such as Zumba, inflatables and a variety of games.

The event will take place in UT’s Savage Arena on April 8 from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. All proceeds from RockeTHON go to Mercy Children’s Hospital, located in downtown Toledo. The hospital is associated with Children’s Miracle Network, which raises funds and awareness for local children’s hospitals and sponsors dance marathons around the country.

RockeTHON is UT’s largest student-run philanthropy. Last year, RockeTHON raised $147,530.82, and this year’s fundraising goal is $200,000. Students can raise funds as a group or individually.

Lauren Valigosky, a third-year speech language pathology major, has set her personal goal at $1,000. Students who raise over $1,000 join the Comma Club and receive a free T-shirt.

“I am hoping to be a part of the Comma Club again this year and crush my total from last year,” Valigosky said.

Valigosky will be participating in RockeTHON for her third year. This year, she is serving as the administrative director.

Last year, RockeTHON had 1,400 registered participants, and this year’s goal is to match that number.

“We are pushing for retention this year,” Valigosky said. “We would love for students to stay the whole 13 hours because it is such a fun-filled event.”

Every year, several of the families from Mercy Children’s Hospital participate in RockeTHON and dance along with the students during the event. Katie Elco, a fifth-year bioengineering major, also expressed her excitement at being able to enjoy this event with some of the families she has worked so hard to raise financial support for.

“We invite the children and their families that have been impacted by the Children’s Miracle Network to tell their story and just have a fun time all day,” Elco said. “I love being able to spend time with those children and their families to give them a few normal hours to run around and play like kids should.”

Elco first got involved with RockeTHON through the choreography committee. This is Elco’s fourth year participating, and this year she will be serving as a morale captain.

“I really hope people realize how RockeTHON gives back to the Toledo community,” Elco said.

RockeTHON is also hosting various events for “Miracle Week” on campus leading up to the dance marathon, including a cupcake war, petting puppies and games.

Registration for RockeTHON is open until April 8 at 6 a.m. However, donations are accepted up until midnight April 30. Students can register for this event by signing up on the RockeTHON Facebook page.

Although an event that long might deter some students from participating, Elco says it is well worth it.

“Those 13 hours at RockeTHON are nothing compared to what those children and their families have had to go through and continue to push through every day,” Elco said.

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Rock your body for charity