Vols and other local volunteers will join forces on Feb. 22, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., for a fun-filled day in celebration of a year’s worth of fundraising for East Tennessee Children’s Hospital. This year, the organization is also celebrating its 25th anniversary.
As a branch of the Miracle Network Dance Marathon, VOLthon has been working to offer emotional and financial support to families of the hospital. The annual VOLthon event serves as a celebration and opportunity for the organization to reveal the total amount raised from the year’s work.
Each year, a specific area of the hospital is chosen to benefit from the fundraising. This year, funds will go toward new beds, stretchers and cribs, says VOLthon president Nicole Maestri.
VOLthon and its events also offer an opportunity for those students looking to get involved on campus. Membership officer Haley Reeves says joining the organization helped her find her place at UT.
“Coming into school, I wasn’t sure where I would be able to find my home, but VOLthon gave that home. It gave me a way to fight for a cause that I am so passionate about and a community to fight alongside of,” Reeves says. “VOLthon has become a part of my personality, it has given me a purpose in life and has become part of my future plans.”
The upcoming marathon will consist of dancing, additional fundraising opportunities and fun activities with children from the hospital. Food will be provided for all participants. Anyone is able to join, and registration is open until the day of the event. Registration is available online.
Throughout the day, a morale team from the organization will be teaching a line dance to participants. The dance is performed right before the donation reveal and is followed by a mini dance “rave” to cap off the celebration.
Participants will also hear the stories of families and children who have been treated at the hospital and learn about how VOLthon has impacted those families personally.
Additionally, Maestri says the event gives volunteers an opportunity to connect with others and make a difference.
“There’s something about the feeling of attending your first main event, hearing your first miracle story and hitting your first fundraising goal that ignites a passion to continue to fight each year,” Maestri said. “I know that even after college, I will find myself uniting with these same people, fighting for the same cause, year-after-year. Because that’s what happens when you join the movement.”
Last year, a total of $138,764.19 was raised. According to VOLthon, per their slogan, everything is done “For the Kids.”