On Dec 4, 2017, 5-year old Jillian Massey lost her fight against brain and spine cancer. According to her parents she had very strong beliefs in miracles. Each year in the United States alone, children between the ages of birth and 19 will be diagnosed with cancer. In the world, every 3 minutes, parents are told their child has cancer. Jill’s tragic end made the fight against cancer even stronger in fundraisers and medical studies. By 2018 Cabrini University had joined the fight to help children with cancer in the form of a dance marathon fundraising event called, Cav-A-Thon.
This event was inspired by the popular dance marathon at Penn State University, THON. Between the years 2017-2018, 90,000 student volunteers hosted 283 million mini-THONs in elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, and colleges across the United States. Recently they have raised over seven million dollars for the Four Diamonds organization. For only three years now, Cabrini University’s Student Athlete Advisory Committee has hosted Cav-A-Thon to raise money for the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and people fighting pediatric cancer.
All students, faculty and alumni are allowed to participate in this event. Throughout the evening from 6 p.m. to midnight, the attendants can participate in activities such as, pie eating contests, lip sync battles, tug of war, and many other backyard activities. It is the SAAC’s goal to raise more money than the year before. In 2018 the school had raised over 19 thousand dollars for the Children’s Hospital. The major success encourages the students and faculty to continue to host Cav-A-Thon and raise more money in the future. There was a small decline in the 2019 THON, as the school only raised over thirteen thousand dollars due to the fact that only 100 people attended.
“We set our goal at $10,000 every year,” Brittany Runyen, coordinator of athletics student programming, said. “We’ll see how we can get their this year but at the end of the day all that matters is that there is some number behind that dollar sign.”
“We’re always planning to achieve a higher number than the year before but we are always grateful for what we end up with in the end,” Kelly Jonell, current Cav-A-Thon leader, said.
On Feb. 18, Runyen hosted a meeting to not only share information about Cav-A-Thon but to also inspire students to join the leading staff, to help pitch new ideas and help make the event better. Many students attending pitched several ideas such as a Cabrini theater performance, karaoke, dance offs, musical chairs and much more. One major part of Cav-A-Thon is that patients from the Children’s Hospital are invited to attend the event and enjoy all the games and activities hosted by Cabrini. In the end they are the first to see how much money is going towards their hospital to help them get well.
She also had the students join the Cav-A-Thon “GoFundme” campaign online. Cav-A-Thon activities can also be found on multiple social media platforms including, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.