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Maryland Stories: Rachel

Growing up outside of Philly, I constantly saw college students canning for Penn State’s THON. My parents and I donated every time we saw a can. Soon those can donations turned into donations for my eldest brother as he took the brave steps to be a participant in Penn States’ THON. After experiencing Dance Marathons through him, and seeing the impact organizations like this could make, I knew I had to get more involved. During my senior year of high school, I was a part of the first ever mini marathon. I served as the Morale/Spirit Committee Chair. This is where my love for Dance Marathons really grew. It was life changing to be a part of the first ever event at my school. In our short year we were able to raise over $30,000! Seeing the event run smoothly, and seeing the major impact my small hometown high school could make, motivated me to get involved with Terp Thon when I arrived at Maryland.

At the First Look Fair I practically ran to the Terp Thon table to get more information. I applied to be on the Morale Committee again as I had so much being the motivator for my high school mini marathon. I had an incredible time preparing for Terp Thon throughout the year, but it was on the day of Dance Marathon that I realized just how special this organization was. I’ll never forget at the beginning of our 12 hours when we introduced the Miracle Kids. A bunch of Planning Team members created a bridge and each kid ran through. I just remember watching each kid run through with a smile, and my eyes began to fill with tears. That is when it truly hit me: they are the reason I am on my feet for 12 hours. They are the reasons I spent hours creating and practicing the Morale dance. They are the reason I stand out in the freezing cold to go canning. I saw their smiles, and I realized the importance of what I am doing. I remember talking to Samerya and hearing the impact Children’s National had on her. Yet again I am serving on the Morale Committee where I hope to keep the dancers involved all throughout Dance Marathon. 

I am pushing to get more of my friends involved this year so that they can have the same incredible experience that I was given through Terp Thon. Although I never had a personal connection to Children’s National, Terp Thon has helped me to put my own life into perspective. Just because I was fortunate enough to have a healthy childhood does not guarantee that everyone I know will. I want to take advantage of the fact that I was lucky and help others. It is so easy to make an impact, and even if that impact is small, it is still an impact. Every little thing Terp Thon does has a positive effect on the kids of Children’s National, and I am so grateful to be a part of it. 

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