Elonthon raises more than $114,000 to support ‘miracle children’ of Duke Children’s Hospital

The organization held for its second in-person dance marathon since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and was joined by a number of campus organizations.

For the 20th year, members of the Elon community gathered in Alumni Gym for a dance marathon lasting 13.1 hours to raise money for the patients of Duke Children’s Hospital. Patients and their families traveled from far and wide to come to the April 1 event to share their stories and express how this event has positively impacted their lives and their experiences while cared for in the hospital.

The executive committees and staff of Elonthon helped make the whole event possible, with their hard work and dedication put towards fundraising since the beginning of this year.

A child races with an Elonthon volunteer at this year's event
Elonthon this year featured a variety of activities for participants, which included children and families supported by the fundraising effort.

“We talked a lot about this year being our ‘rebrand’ year,” said Madi Federici ’23, president of Elonthon. “We weren’t afraid to try new things this year, and if they didn’t work, that was okay. Our motto this year was ‘Adapt and Overcome’, and we definitely did that, even during the event, shifting things on the fly.”

The marathon event offered more than just dancing this year. During a first shift, participants to part in activities including dodgeball, Hungry Hippo, yoga, a bouncy house and knockout. During the second, people participated in “pie a pal,” silent disco, a cornhole tournament and Just Dance. Entertainment groups such as Sweet Signatures, Smooth Progressions, Ripchord, the Elon Irish Dance Team and the Elon Cheer Team also performed. There was something for everyone to enjoy and partake of in during the event.

Other organizations, such as campus Greek life came to support the event. Phi Mu’s philanthropy chairwoman, Margaret Ivy Johnston, helped the sorority raise over $22,000 for the cause.

“It’s such a fun day to be together as a sorority and meet new people,” Johnston explained. “Listening to the stories of our miracle kids really inspired an increase in fundraising.”

Participants at this year’s Elonthon

Not only does the money funded at Elonthon go towards research and quality care, but it also helps to make a more comfortable experience for patients during treatment by purchasing toys, games, and prizes for them during their hospital stay.

“Duke Children’s really provides quality care,” Federici explained. “All the work that we do, and other dance marathons do, it all goes to them. It really gives hospitals the capability to do stuff like that.”

Federici has been involved with Elonthon since 2020, her first year at Elon. She previously worked as director of events before transitioning to her role as president.

“Being on the executive committee has really helped me grow in terms of leadership. I tested my abilities a little bit,” Federici explained. “I didn’t really think I would be capable of doing something like this, and then, here I am. I did it.”

The work Elonthon does has grown to help so many children across the state for the past 20 years, and hopefully, many more to come.