By Frances Clause
Forty-two teams with the goal of saving children’s lives from childhood illness participated in Guinathon’s eight-hour dance marathon in Kilcawley Center Feb. 16.
Guinathon’s yearlong movement ended strongly when $57,474.31 was revealed as the total amount raised for the cause, exceeding last year’s amount by $12,400.37. All proceeds benefit Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley to fund new programs, equipment and uphold the promise that no child is turned away for any reason, according to Guinathon’s website.
Francine Hazy, public relations manager for Guinathon and junior psychology major, said Guinathon’s executive and committee team was busy all year preparing for the main event.
“It was challenging to juggle all of the responsibilities both within our individual roles for Guinathon and classes, work schedules, other student organizations and so on,” she said. “When we see how important [Guinathon] is for children and families right here in our community, we know that the hard work is worth it.”
Rachell Rottman, team captain for First Year Student Services and a junior biology major, said watching the fundraising reveal was an emotional experience.
“It was so amazing to see what can be accomplished in a year,” she said. “The dancers were told it was our number because we worked so hard on it, and it was unbelievably touching.”
Rottman said she was inspired by the Miracle Families positively influenced by Akron Children’s Hospital at the event.
“Each hour, a different family told their story,” she said. “[The dancers] saw exactly why we were doing what we were every hour. It was so encouraging to meet the Miracle Kids and see exactly where the donations go.”
Throughout the marathon, dancers and Miracle Families enjoyed various activities, including performances by Pella Penguins and the YSU Dance Ensemble, team building exercises and learning the morale dance that was performed at the fundraising reveal.
Katlyn Kritz, a junior journalism major and member of Pella Penguins, said the group’s performance felt extra special because it was for a great cause.
“[Pella Penguins] mainly raised money by doing a lot of social media campaigning,” she said. “You’d be surprised at how much you can raise over social media.”
The group raised over $600 and one member decided to donate 10 inches of hair at the event.
Taylor Phillips, a sophomore early childhood education major and president of Pella Penguins, said she was inspired to donate her hair after watching two participants donate at last year’s Guinathon.
“There are tons of children out there with hair loss due to medical issues and treatments, and there’s no reason to have excess of something if you can share it with someone who has none of it,” she said. “For someone who has life so easy in comparison, it feels good to do what little I can to help them out.”
Phillips’s favorite moment of Guinathon was the ceremony that concluded the event.
“[The participants] are so tired and sweaty, but we stand in a circle while Miracle Children cut our hospital bracelets to symbolize our ability to go home at the end of the night, remembering there are still so many children unable to do the same,” she said.
“This ceremony truly makes each person in that room think about how lucky they are and what they can do to fight for the next generation,” she added.