My journey with Terp Thon ultimately began on February 5, 2003, the day after my 5th birthday. I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. While over the years this illness has brought its challenges including other diagnoses, it has also led me to some amazing experiences that have helped me discover passions of mine that I’m not sure I would have otherwise had. One of these is child health. I feel so fortunate that I have had access to top-notch healthcare that has allowed me to live a pretty full life. I want to make sure that other kids facing pediatric illness can have as few barriers as possible to receiving quality care. Before I even arrived on campus for my freshman year, I knew I wanted to be involved in Terp Thon. I was put on the Public Relations committee my freshman year and have been on it for all four years, even serving as the Public Relations Chair on the Executive Board for Terp Thon 2019 and as a Captain for Terp Thon 2020.
At one of my first meetings as a new Planning Team member, I learned about Seacrest Studios, which was still fairly new at the time. I was immediately drawn to it as both a journalism major and a person who spent a lot of time as a child waiting in lackluster “play areas” in waiting rooms. About a year later, when I received an email about internships at Seacrest Studios, I knew I had to have one before I graduated.
I finally was able to intern at Seacrest Studios during the spring semester of my junior year. For the longest time, I had struggled with how I could combine my passion for journalism with the passion I had for Terp Thon. I felt like I would have to choose one over the other, but Seacrest Studios showed me that it is possible to do both at the same time! There wasn’t a single day where I didn’t wake up excited to head to the hospital and see what was in store. I did everything from going to patients rooms to deliver supplies for our interactive programs to having Frozen sing-a-longs to helping host special guests in the studio to calling BINGO on screen while dressed up as an emoji! However, what will stick with me the most is hearing the stories from grateful parents and Child Life specialists about how Seacrest Studios helped their child. Whether it was seeing their child smile after days of being in pain and stuck in their hospital room or going to a meet and greet at a concert and having the artist remember them from a visit to Seacrest Studios, it was clear to me that we were playing such an important role in the healing process of every child that walks into the studio.
At the time of my internship, I was on the Exec Board and we were in our final weeks of Dance Marathon preparation. We always talk about how we stand for not only our Miracle Kids, but all the kids currently in the hospital who we will never meet. Being able to meet some of those kids who would be laying in one of the 323 beds at Children’s during Terp Thon was really special and added extra meaning to an already emotional event. Interning at Seacrest Studios was one of my favorite experiences I’ve had in college, but without Terp Thon I would have never done it. This is just one of the many things that Terp Thon has given me throughout these past four years, and I will always be so grateful that my journey brought me here.