ElonTHON leaders present check to Duke Children's Hospital

A student-led dance marathon raised more than $180,000 in April to support a North Carolina hospital that helps young patients and their families fight life-threatening conditions.

<p>From left: Elon University students Lizzy Lykens, Conor Janda and Kaylyn Weller present a check to Kelly Partner of Duke Children's Hospital &amp; Health Center on May 12, 2015, during the final College Coffee of the academic year.</p>

Talk about an impressive tally “for the kids.”

Elon University student leaders of a 24-hour annual dance marathon presented their ceremonial fundraising check Tuesday morning to a staff member from Duke Children’s Hospital & Health Center who praised their efforts for raising the spirits of young patients battling life-threatning illnesses.

Before sharing the check, ElonTHON executive committee members Kaylyn Weller, Conor Janda and Lizzy Lykens also addressed a Phi Beta Kappa Plaza crowd during the final College Coffee of the academic year.

“The success of our program would not have been possible without everyone who generously donated to dancer fundraising pages, our corporate donors, and most importantly, our miracle families who shared their incredible stories with us,” said Lykens, a senior psychology major from Baltimore. “Without the incredible support of the Elon community, we would not have been able to make miracles happen this year.”

Hundreds of students took part in the 24-hour dance marathon held April 10-11, 2015, in Alumni Gym. University students first hosted ElonTHON in 2003 and since then have raised many hundreds of thousands of dollars by citing the organization’s motto “For the Kids” as they solicit contributions from family and friends.

As in previous years, patients and their families attended the marathon to share stories with dancers.

“Duke Children’s Hospital is one of the best hospitals in the country for children to get the care they need,” said Weller, a senior psychology major from Huntersville, North Carolina. “The money we raised this year will go straight to helping the children and their families at the hospital

“Remember that ever dollar amount that we raised this year is making a huge difference in the lives of somebody else.”

Kelly Partner, assistant director of special programs at the hospital, complimented and thanked Elon University students for organizing and taking part in ElonTHON. The money they raised for the hospital will go toward patient care, advocacy, research and education programs. 

“This group does an amazing job of including our patients and their families (in ElonTHON),” Partner said. “They treat the kids like superstars, which is helpful for them and their parents, who are watching their children just be kids after struggling through illness.”