Madison County OSU students at big dance
By Dean Shipley
The annual Ohio State BuckeyeThon, a dance marathon/fundraising vehicle for Nationwide Children’s “danced” its way to a record fundraising result.
Madison County-based OSU students played integral roles in the event held Feb. 8-9.
Dancers, numbering more than 3,500, cavorted for one of two, 12-hour shifts. Then at the finale, most of them gathered in the Great Hall of The Ohio Union to learn the amount raised over the 10-month campaign. Katherine “Katie” Haynes wrote in an e-mail the throng loudly vocalized their joy and the amount raised was announced: $608,623.29. It represents a 33 percent increase over last year’s record amount.
Haynes said the entire amount benefits the Hematology/Oncology/BMT unit at Nationwide Children’s, a Children’s Miracle Network Hospital. This means that they will treat any child, regardless of their family’s ability to pay for the treatments. She said donations may still be made at the following website: go.osu.edu/bt
Haynes, the communications person for the event and an London High School alumna, said as a senior her last BuckeyeThon leaves her “bittersweet.”
“Being my last BuckeyeThon as a student, the whole experience was extremely bittersweet. Seeing all of the students who came to dance, volunteer, or visit us to see what BuckeyeThon is all about was amazing. Being a Buckeye means being dedicated to serving our community and always paying it forward and that is exactly what all 3,500+ of us did For The Kids with cancer at Nationwide Children’s. All 16 of our Miracle Kids (what we call the patients that come to BuckeyeThon) were given the chance to just be a kid again and to enjoy some of the things they should always have the privilege of doing but unfortunately are not able to. I could not be more honored and proud to be part of an organization that is able to move so many students and to support the children and their families who deserve it more than anyone.”
Madison-Plains alumnus Bryan Takayama worked hard at fundraising and brought in $900. Takayama received an award for efforts. “BuckeyeThon is the most inspiring entity I have ever had the privilege to work with,” he said by way of e-mail.” The way it creates a desire within thousands of students to raise funds and sacrifice their time to make the children and families at Nationwide Children’s Hospital smile and have hope is incredible. BuckeyeThon has changed my life and has sparked a fire within me to be a lifelong supporter of their mission to end pediatric cancer.”
London High School alumna Jayne Ruesch said it was hard for her to endure the 12-hour long dance session, but it pales by comparison to what the children endure.
“I can’t even fathom the battles that they fight each and every day. They are true champions! I would love to try to become even more involved in the remaining years that I will be at Ohio State and spreading the word about this event because it does change lives.”
At times the emotions she felt overwhelmed her as she saw them in person and heard their stories.
Alexis Wilson, also a London High School alumna, said her two years of experience with BuckeyeThon “has truly touched me and changed my life forever. These kids have some of the most hopeful and loving hearts, it’s incredible! I’m so thankful that as a Buckeye I have the opportunity to be involved in something so powerful, inspiring, and world changing.”
Madison-Plains alumna, Joelle Self described the BuckeyeThon as awesome.
“The kids are so inspiring and while standing for 12 straight hours is hard, when you think about why you are doing it and about the kids that can’t do that, it is very motivating. I am already looking forward to next year.”
London alumnus, Derek Davis is inspired by the children.
“My experience at BT was amazing because it’s unbelievable to see the will of those kids to stay strong and fight through everything they are going through,” he said. “It was the best fundraiser I’ve ever been part of.”