More than 400 students danced the night away Saturday in the Tad Pad at the sixth annual RebelTHON, a 12-hour fundraising event for the patients of Batson Children’s Hospital in Jackson.
Participants maintained high energy throughout the night, with constant movement and dancing, as the DJ played old and new pop hits. Participants belted out the words to music by the Chainsmokers, Taylor Swift and even the Jonas Brothers.
Competitions, fundraising challenges and team challenges took place throughout the night. At the end of every hour, one of the families from Batson Children’s hospital shared their story with participants. Carson Shade, RebelTHON director of campus recruitment and junior accountancy major, said hearing the families’ stories motivates participants to keep going.
“I am pretty optimistic that we will reach our goal,” Shade said during the event. “The families talk about their experiences and express their gratitude. They encourage us to keep going and do our best.”
Prior to the event, a fundraising goal of $225,000 was set by the RebelTHON executive board. That goal was exceeded, as the final amount raised was $265,912.30. The amount raised also exceeded last year’s total, which was $172,000.
“There are not enough words to express our gratitude to every dancer, every donor, every miracle family, every doctor, and every single person involved in this journey,” RebelTHON said in an Instagram post. “We are extremely grateful and proud to be able to hold up these numbers tonight. We were forty thousand over our goal! This could not have been done without the help of each individual that was involved!”
Last year, money raised went to renovations for the children’s center cancer floor. Shade said they are currently looking into getting naming rights for a waiting room at Batson Children’s Hospital. RebelTHON hopes to purchase giraffe beds, which are beds that have the ability to be raised up and down, for the hospital. In addition, the organization hopes to fund the renovation of the waiting room and a patient room. Funds raised will also go to a NICU, PICU, operating rooms and more.
Freshman general studies major Grace Olivia Mauldin said she loves that she is able to put her passion for dancing and kids into the event.
“I’m so pumped. I’ve always loved dancing and kids. I feel like what we are doing is so great, and I know if I was in the kids’ position, I’d feel so grateful and excited,” Mauldin said.
At the end of the night, the “Morale Cup” was given to the team that raised the most money. The red team was awarded the cup, raising $33,575.78.
Former RebelTHON executive director Marianne Schmidt said she was thrilled to come back and participate in the event.
“I’m just really excited to be able to come back and see all the progress that has been made,” Schmidt said. “Seeing how much the event has grown and the kid’s faces make me so happy.”