"My name is Sashwat Venkatesh, and I’m a Computer Science student from just outside of Philadelphia, PA. I’m extremely blessed and grateful that no one in my immediate family has been involved in long-term hospital stays or even had major experiences with a hospital. In high school, my school hosted an annual Dance Marathon-style event, where we would spend the school year fundraising, and celebrate our efforts with an overnight Dance Marathon. The event was started in honor of a student, Cameron, who passed away from Leukemia at another high school in my school district. In my senior year of high school, I had the privilege of leading the program at my high school after participating for the previous 3 years. Despite the fact that our event was cancelled due to the pandemic in spring 2020, I was able to see the impact we had on our community throughout the year. More importantly, I was especially inspired by the sense of community that our school generates each year to support Cam-A-Thon, as our event is called.
Starting college, regardless of whether it would be in a virtual or in-person environment, I knew I wanted to be a part of building a similar community at UMD. I joined Terp Thon as soon as I could, and going through the Membership Development process was so much fun, despite being virtual. The balance between the large scale of Terp Thon and developing the truly personal connections with our Miracle Kids was amazing, and seeing the results of Terp Thon’s efforts, even in the midst of a global pandemic, just confirmed all the reasons I wanted to be part of this organization.
This year, I have been able to serve as Operations chair on Terp Thon’s Executive Board. Seeing the inner workings of the organization and putting together events such as Field Day as well as planning our yearly Dance Marathon has been nothing short of an amazing opportunity. I’m so proud of all the amazing individuals who make a difference through Terp Thon, and I’m looking forward to celebrating all the miracles we make this year!"