Stories produced by students in the Meek School of Journalism & New Media
Students, faculty, and citizens of Oxford will soon take a pledge to stay on their feet for 12 hours and dance for those who can’t. RebelTHON, a dance marathon that benefits Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, is just a couple months away.
After raising over $25,000 in its first year, the board of RebelTHON has to discuss new fundraisers and goals for this year. Wil Yerger, one of the executive co-directors for RebelTHON at Ole Miss, says he is excited for what’s to come:
“We have one month from January 22 to February 22 to finish getting people registered, raising money, everything before the event and so we’ll be doing a lot of promotional stuff like tables in front of the Union and tents in front of the Union. We may have another Spirit Week, maybe two, who really knows. But we’re going to be getting people pumped up the month we get back.”
RebelTHON may come around only once a year, but “fundraising is a year-long thing,” according to Reagan Huey, the director of finance for RebelTHON.
The organizers tried Spirit Week for the first time in the fall to get people “pumped up” for the event in advance.
“We have different events like a raffle, a bake sale, and the most fun part we did was a flash mob in the Union,” said Huey.
The money raised for the event goes towards fundraising Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis. Last year, RebelTHON raised $25,409. Yerger won’t say what they’re targeting this year, he said it’s “more about doing the best good that we can for the kids.”
A main focus of RebelTHON is to “get people involved early in the game,” says Huey. Although RebelTHON takes place on February 22, the RebelTHON board members are already hard at work encouraging people to register and to get involved in the cause.
Ashley Maiolatesi is in charge of Dancer Relations for RebelTHON at Ole Miss. She tries to keep people “up to date on any fundraising that goes on throughout the year.” She says there’s also a new structure for the event this year.
“RebelTHON will be from noon to midnight, 12:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m. The time is more convenient, and this way we are able to have more activities during the event. We can’t wait to show everyone how hard we’ve worked!”
The patients of Le Bonheur and their families attend RebelTHON as well.
“There is a local family that attends many of our meetings and fundraisers. Their son had heart surgery over the summer and his quality of life is so much better than previously. Our funds helped him and other children just like him.” said Maiolatesi.
RebelTHON’s motto is “FTK.” This stands for “For The Kids,” and means that all of the fundraising events that lead up to RebelTHON, as well as RebelTHON itself, benefit the children of Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital. Yerger tells why RebelTHON means so much to him.
“ Hearing the patients’ stories and seeing these families and how their lives were touched by Children’s Miracle Network by the kind of good that we are doing… it puts everything that could ever possibly happen to you behind you.”