Ohio State students preparing to dance for 12 hours straight this weekend should refresh themselves on the Michigan rivalry.
Fourteen miracle kids are set to come to Ohio State Friday and Saturday to watch Ohio State students dance in their names at the 13th annual BuckeyeThon, which will have a portion dedicated to pumping students up using the OSU-Michigan rivalry.
Miracle kids are children who are often being treated at the Hematology, Oncology & Blood and Marrow Transplant Department of Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
OSU students are set to dance in 12-hour shifts at BuckeyeThon to raise money for Children’s Hospital.
“For some of (the kids) it’s just as much fun as Christmas morning,” said Zach Horner, director of public relations for BuckeyeThon and a fourth-year in marketing and business development.
After raising about $608,600 last year and with plans to raise at least $750,000 this year, the funds from BuckeyeThon typically constitute the second biggest fundraised donation to Nationwide Children’s, said Courtney Cahill, associate director of annual giving at the hospital.
“We shoot for about 20 percent more each year, and we base our organizational goal off that,” said Brendan Kelly, director of fundraising for BuckeyeThon and a fourth-year in international studies and economics.
The biggest issue BuckeyeThon faces every year is attracting a high enough turnout for the dance marathon, Horner said. About 2,800 people showed up for BuckeyeThon last year, while 3,500 had signed up, Horner said.
Horner said the BuckeyeThon Committee hopes about 3,000 people will show up this year to dance.
To help in reaching that goal, there is a subcommittee devoted to recruiting more people from various parts of campus, called the expansion committee.
“No child should be confined to a hospital room and not be able to go outside when they have cancer,” said Jessica Sunkamaneevongse, a third-year in Japanese who serves on the Dancer Relations Committee, which works to recruit people to participate, when asked why she participates in BuckeyeThon.
On the same weekend that OSU hosts BuckeyeThon, the University of Connecticut and University of Michigan are also set to host similar dance marathons to raise money for hospitals in Children’s Miracle Network.
“We’re going to play off the (OSU-Michigan) rivalry a little bit,” Horner said.
BuckeyeThon is set to include a “Beat Michigan hour” to play off the rivalry and pump people up during it, Horner said.
Bri Laycock, mother of Hayden Laycock, a miracle kid, said BuckeyeThon has made a difference to her son.
“BuckeyeThon gave (Hayden) the boost he needed to feel better about himself and see his pacemaker as a benefit instead of as something that slowed him down,” Laycock said in a statement about BuckeyeThon sent to The Lantern by Christine Kaiser, director of family relations for BuckeyeThon.
While the biggest event of BuckeyeThon is the annual 24-hour dance marathon, the club holds events with miracle kids and their families all year long. Miracle kids and BuckeyeThon members have outings, a fashion show, dinners, a video game marathon and various other events where the families can interact with OSU students.
Each dancer is required to raise at least $100 or they aren’t permitted to participate, according to the BuckeyeThon website.
Donations are accepted through the BuckeyeThon website. Virtual dancers also raise money, but don’t dance at the dance marathon.
Cahill said OSU students continue to surpass expectations each year.
“We are blown away every year by the amount of time and money OSU students put into this event,” Cahill said.
Correction: Feb. 13, 2014
An earlier version of this article stated BuckeyeThon plans to raise $758,000 this year, when in fact, it plans to raise $750,000.