On Saturday Ohio University hosted their second annual BobcaThon and raised over $40,000 for charity.
BobcaThon is a student organization on campus whose mission is to raise money for the entire year from March until the following February, which is when they host their 12-hour dance marathon that closes out the fundraising.
The proceeds from the event went to the Ronald McDonald House of Central Ohio, which, according to BobcaThon’s official website, “will officially be the largest Ronald McDonald House in the world after its expansion.”
The website states, “The mission of BobcaThon, in conjunction with Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio, is to unite the Ohio University community in a tradition that raises funds and awareness for seriously-ill children and their families.”
Compared to the previous year, attendance and funds both spiked dramatically. The number of dancers nearly tripled from 60 to approximately 150, and money that was raised more than doubled from $18,000 to $40,473.01. Including volunteers, there were over 200 people involved in the event for Saturday.
Before the dance marathon began, they raised over $30,000 through donations. After raffles, silent auctions, cake walks and a social media storm that brought in donations to students’ fundraising pages the organization surpassed their $36,000 goal.
Junior communication studies student and Vice President of Planning for BobcaThon Kendra Lutes sensed that things were going well.
“I think it’s hard when you’re in the process of it all, but I think the dinner hour allowed everyone who was planning to kind of step back and be like ‘whoa, people are really enjoying this,’ so that was really rewarding to make it through that halfway-hump and realize that people were having a lot of fun,” Lutes said.
The theme for the dance marathon was “Dancing Through the Decades.” With every hour came a change in music from every decade beginning in the ’50s and moving into today’s pop music.
“We were kind of iffy about it at first just because we weren’t sure how many people were going to know ’50s music and whatnot, but it turned out to be a blast. I think it’s been really fun and really diverse and everyone is having a kick out of it,” said senior communications student and Co-director of BobcaThon Tess Austin.
The theme was also incorporated into the line dances that dancers learned every hour, as well as the games, lights and decorations. “I think people were really into it, especially once we got into the ’90s and 2000s,” Lutes said.
In an interview with The Post, President Advisor for BobcaThon and Ohio University’s Associate Director of Campus Relations Katrina Heilmeier explained that it costs the Ronald McDonald House $100 a night to provide care for the families in Athens County that stay there.
With the donations from BobcaThon, the Ronald McDonald House of Central Ohio will be able to fund 400 nights of stays.
Every hour, families who have been helped by the Ronald McDonald House spoke about their experience.
The event was not only a success financially, but it was also emotionally powerful for everyone involved. When BobcaThon members revealed the grand total at midnight, the Baker Center Ballroom filled with screams and cheers from elated dancers and volunteers.
“This is sort of the capstone for our efforts throughout the entire year so it’s a really powerful event for us,” Lutes said.