The university held their annual twelve-hour dance marathon, Terp Thon, on Saturday, March 12 to raise money and awareness for children fighting against cancer.
The event was held from noon to midnight in the Reckord Armory, and showcased dancers, singers, bands and talent shows. They also held silent auctions and other fundraising events to raise a total of $274,851.53 for D.C.’s Children’s National Hospital.
The money goes towards numerous costs that children, their families, and the hospitals face, including expenses not covered by insurance, scholarships for children to attend camps or to help grieving families. The money also goes towards equipment and treatments that hospitals could otherwise not afford.
Sarah Neubecker, a senior hearing and speech major, is the executive director of the entire event. She said that the event was planned by over 100 students, and there were around 1,200 participants this year.
“I couldn't feel more proud of this year's event! I've been on the executive board for three years and have seen it all as we went from in-person events to virtual and finally back together again,” said Neubecker. “My friends and family finally understood the impact behind Terp Thon and why I spent so many hours planning for this 12-hour long event.”
Marissa Elassal, a freshman, was a part of the corporate relations committee.
“The event was amazing this year. It was the first one in person since 2020,” said Elassal. “I felt like the UMD community definitely came together for it.”
As a part of the corporate relations committee, Elassal and the other members reached out to companies, asking them to sponsor the event. Terp Thon sponsors ranged from STAMP Student Union to Cornerstone Grill and Loft. “Planning the event has been months of preparation, so about once every couple weeks the entire planning committee would get together and refresh what we all needed to do to make sure the event could happen,” said Elassal.
Campbell Snoddy, a junior marketing and supply chain management major, performed at the event with the Celtic Grace club, an Irish Dance performance troupe.
“Performing is one of my favorite parts of Irish dance and we haven't had any opportunities to do so with the pandemic, so this was a great way to get back into it,” said Snoddy.
However, along with the opportunity to start performing again, Snoddy enjoyed being able to support such an important event that she had only attended once in the past.
“I think it's really incredible that college students are able to put on an event like this and raise so much money for a great cause,” said Snoddy. “We were happy to be a part of it.”
Other performances included the morale dance, battle of the bands, and a talent show, all that helped raise money for children with cancer.
Like Snoddy, Elassal enjoyed the opportunity to help raise money for such an important cause.
“I am a part of Terp Thon because the National Children's Hospital works so hard to make sure kids can still be kids, even while battling sickness,” said Elassal. “I want to make sure that can continue.” While such an important event is over for the 2021-2022 school year, the Terp Thon staff starts work almost a full year prior to the event, and Maryland students are continually showing their support in the fight against childhood cancer.