During the first week of October, EagleTHON will host events for Children’s Health Week. The organization planned a full week with anything from “Paws for a Cause” to “Karaoke for the Kids.”
EagleTHON is a campus organization that supports Children’s Miracle Network hospitals and raises money specifically for Blair E. Batson Hospital in Jackson, Mississippi. The group works all year towards the annual dance marathon which is set for Feb. 16.
Universities throughout the country partner with the Miracle Network Dance Marathon in order to put on the dance marathon. The Miracle Network Dance Marathon is a nationwide movement of both college and high school students at more than 150 schools across the country raising money for their local Children’s Miracle Network hospital.
EagleTHON Vice President Michaelah Wheat said the dance marathon lasts for six hours because six hours is the least amount of time a child will receive treatment at any Children’s Miracle Network hospital. The six hours of dancing is so that participants can put in the same amount of time that the children would have to spend at the hospital.
“We don’t want to do anything less than they would have to do too,” Wheat said. “So it’s just a really fun time to come together in celebration and have a great time and reward ourselves for all we’ve been able to do for Children’s Miracle Network and Blair E. Batson. At the very end of the dance marathon, we have a big reveal of how much money we’ve raised throughout that year.”
Last year, EagleTHON raised $10,000 for Blair E. Batson. This year, the organization’s goal is to raise $25,000 which is the cost of a venous ultrasound machine.
A group of three students – Melody Hill, Melissa David and Kayla Hubbard all came together to bring EagleTHON to the Southern Miss campus last school year.
“They thought [EagleTHON] would be very beneficial to our campus and wanted to bring it to USM not only to help get the campus involved in such an incredible opportunity but also to get the Hattiesburg community involved,” Wheat said.
On Sep. 22, EagleTHON partnered with local concert series Live at Five for a night of music and fun.
Public Relations Chair Sawyer Walters emphasized that anyone can get involved with EagleTHON.
“As a fraternity member, you hear ‘dance marathon’ and you’re like ‘nah, not for me, not at all’ but it’s not about the dance per say, it’s about the kids,” Walters said. “One of the biggest things that we have is #ForTheKids and that’s one of our biggest pushes… None of this that we’re doing, it’s not so like EagleTHON can be like ‘oh, look at what we did.’ It’s for the kids and their glory. It’s for them to get a cure, for them to have their treatment done that they can’t afford.”
The dance marathon hosted by EagleTHON has live entertainment in addition to a reveal of how much money was raised that year.
Several kids who are patients at Blair E. Batson Hospital attend the event with their families.
“It’s not just a dance marathon… you’re actually getting to be hands on and you’re getting to interact with these kids who have had this experience of going through this hospital,” Wheat said. “[The dance marathon] is the time of their lives, they absolutely love getting to come to this kind of stuff and that’s what makes it all worthwhile… it’s a way to impact people’s lives.”
Children’s Health Week continues until October 7. For more information, find EagleTHON on Facebook at https://www.facebook. com/eagleTHONusm/.