Students danced for those who can’t at the sixth annual ‘Gorillathon’ to raise money for families. Gorillathon was hosted at the recreational center from 12 to 6 p.m. on Saturday, March 30.
“…We plan events with the families, this all goes to Freeman who is our local children’s miracle network hospital and all the money goes to sick and injured children, that we raise today, one hundred percent of it goes to them,” said Sierra Loveland, senior in nursing and executive director of Gorillathon.
Gorillathon is PSU’s chapter of Dance Marathon through the Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) Hospitals and students put on the event with the help of CMN.
“Dance Marathon is actually a national movement for Children’s Miracle Network hospitals national and then Gorillathon is the Pitt State chapter of dance marathon, we are on our sixth year partnered together and we’re just seeing amazing results,” said Michaela Bennett, development and Children’s Miracle Network hospitals program manager at Freeman Health System.
The event was held for six hours where students who signed up to participate learned different parts of a dance throughout the day and at the end of the day put it all together for one big dance. During the rest of the time they had different games and activities to keep them moving. There were games of twister, basketball, corn hole, raffles students could enter in, and a ball pit.
“It’s just a good opportunity to give back to the community and people in the smallest way, whether its donating just a little bit or being here on our feet representing those children, it’s just an awesome opportunity,” said Evan Hutcheson, junior in exercise science.
Students who signed up to participate set goals for what they wanted to raise individually and marketed the event to friends and family. Each student raised their own money through donations to help them support the children while they danced.
“A lot goes into this we have to plan what hours we’re going to do, what time we’re going to do it, what food we’re going to have, how we’re going to get it donated, we want to spend as little money as possible so all the food all the water is donated as a donation to Children’s Miracle Network,” Loveland said
Not only did each individual set their own goal but Gorillathon set a goal as well.
“Last year we raised about nine thousand dollars, a little over nine thousand dollars, this year our goal is ten thousand and we’re on track so we’re very hopeful that we’ll see a very good year this year,” Bennett said.
Gorillathon met their goal by raising a total of $10,536.29 by 6 p.m. on Saturday. Every hour throughout the event they took time to have some of their ambassador families speak and tell their stories and express how grateful they were for the event and students who chose to participate.
“The miracle families are all of our ambassador families so they are families that we offer assistance to throughout the year so we just have such a great relationship with them and this is their way, them coming here speaking is there way to say thank you to all of the students for raising money and support families like theirs from here,” Bennet said.
One of the families who spoke was the Hobson family.
“She’s going to talk about how CMN has helped us and her medical condition and medical conditions she has to kind of let the students know what she’s going through and how much they help when they raise money like this,” said Michael Hobson.
Addison Hobson is one of the 2019 Children’s Miracle Network Champions.
“We come here every year and it’s so fun to come to with all the energy and enthusiasm,” Addison Hobson said.
She spoke about her and her family’s experiences before and after CMN’s help and how it has affected them.
“They’ve helped us with money, gas money, hotel money whenever I’ve had several doctors’ appointments for several days back to back and they’ve affected me because they’ve always been there for me when we’ve needed them,” Addison Hobson said.
The Hobson family attends the Gorillathon event every year.
“They invited us to speak the first year they had it and we thought it would be fun and it stuck, it’s our favorite event,” Michael Hobson said.
Students who participated were not allowed to sit, they stood for the entirety of the event for those who could not.
“I actually have a local family that is, my dads like one of his best friends, his son was an ambassador, he has been a part of Children’s Miracle Network for years, he’s done this his whole life, he’s seven almost eight I think, so… you have the connection to that Children’s Miracle Network has helped so at first I was dancing for him that was my personal connection but then I made connections with the other families,” said Loveland. “…So like having the emotional connection and seeing the money we raise help these families that come, I will probably cry during, I cry every year and as much effort as we’ve put in this year, it’s just like joy, it’s pure joy that you know that everything you’ve done and everything that you’ve worked for and all of the money that you’ve raised is going to people that you care about or relationships that you’re making,” Loveland said.
The event helped families from all over the South East Kansas and South West Missouri area.
“We’re not just helping one person we’re helping an array of families that are all local that probably couldn’t have afforded it otherwise,” Loveland said.