"My name is Paige Andrus and I am a sophomore Marketing major from Crofton, MD. In the middle of the pandemic, I came to the University of Maryland. I wanted to find an organization that would impact a group larger than College Park. Joining Terp Thon has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life, and I am honored to serve as Morale’s Stewardship Captain this year!
My Terp Thon journey started virtually last year, but my experiences with Children's National Hospital and pediatric illness began when I was born. My twin brother and I were born premature and I spent over a week in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) at Anne Arundel Medical Center. Bryce needed some extra care due to a rare heart condition, so he was transferred immediately to Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C..
My first-time parents were terrified to split up their twins, but there is a reason why the NICU at Children’s National is consistently ranked #1 in the country. While my parents visited him daily, the doctors and nurses were available to give them updates by phone whether it was day or night. My parent’s favorite nurse, Shelli, would always help them find the most comfortable chairs when they would do kangaroo care with him. While Bryce lost his battle after 3.5 months of phenomenal care at Children’s National, we still receive Christmas cards from nurses who took care of him more than nineteen years ago. All the stories my parents have told me inspire me to make a difference in the lives of families through raising awareness with Terp Thon.
Every child that walks through those hospital doors deserves a normal childhood. The strength and joy that I saw in the Miracle Kids while dancing with them over Zoom blew me away and sparked a fire in my heart. I want to fight for them just as the nurses fought for my brother. I am counting down the days until I participate in my first in-person Terp Thon and dance on stage with my Morale Family. Thank you for your continuous support, and I hope you are ready to spread smiles and change lives!"