Elonthon raises nearly $80,000 to support ‘miracle children’ of Duke Children’s Hospital

Campus organizations joined in the April 6 fundraising effort in Alumni Gym.

Alumni Gym was packed with members of the university community on Saturday, April 6, for the six-hour Elonthon dance marathon to raise money for the patients of Duke Children’s Hospital. Patients and families join to share the positive impact the fundraising has for their child’s care, and even to play in the events activities.

The high-energy fundraising effort, which this year raised $76,950.24, continues to gather steam after being sidetracked by the COVID-19 pandemic. “Getting things going after the pandemic was a bit challenging,” explained Landis Thompson ’24, president of Elonthon. “We’ve come so far since the pandemic in increasing campus engagement, participants — all those sorts of things.”

Thompson is right. Hundreds of people joined the event not only to participate in fundraising, but to engage with Duke patients in Tug-o-War, tie-dying T-shirts, Hungry Hippo, dodgeball, Simon Says, and so many more fun games for the kids. Additionally, campus entertainment groups such as Elon’s Finest Dance Team, Elon Cheerleading, the Elon Irish Dance Team, and Smooth Progressions performed for the event.

Preparing an event like this takes time, with energy and effort from all parties involved including participants in student fundraisers, the Elonthon executive board, in addition to organizations from outside of Elon’s campus.

“We did a lot of communication with other campus organizations and other businesses outside of Elon University to partner with to fundraise some more,” Thompson said. “During meetings too, we prepared our staff members to take part in the event because they are a crucial part in its success.”

Thompson is majoring in human services studies and said that much of her work with Elonthon complements her future career endeavors.

“Being president of Elonthon gave me such a good real-world experience into how being a leader can be service oriented,” Thompson explained. “While I won’t ever be president of a dance marathon anymore, I’m considering into doing something on an even larger scale, like working for a dance marathon cooperation.”

Other Greek Life campus organizations, including Phi Mu and Zeta Beta Tau joined to support the event. Phi Mu’s philanthropy chairwoman, Callie Ring, helped the sorority raise over $23,000 for the effort.

“The most rewarding part of the event wasn’t only seeing how much our team raised, but hearing the stories from miracle children and their families of how much a positive impact the funds we were raising have,” Ring said.

“Miracle kids” is the term Elonthon uses for patients that Duke has treated or is currently treating, and two of them were able to join in the event’s fun this year.

“Seeing the joy on their faces and knowing that every single cent that we raise is going to help kiddos like them, truly makes every long night planning so worth it,” Thompson said.

Elonthon has helped children across North Carolina for more than 21 years, with many more to come.