Included in the list of beneficiaries of Terp Thon — (the collegiate dance marathons helping raise money for Children’s Miracle Network hospitals across the country) were 9 year old twins Alexander and Tess Theodorakos. They both have cerebral palsy. For them, the toys that have been donated to the hospital where they receive treatment have been tremendous. Indeed, it is reported that 88 percent of children with cancer also receive treatment at these hospitals.
Sometimes what is equally important to treatment is doing things to take patients’ mind off of what they are going through. As Alexander said, “the money doesn’t always go to the really expensive medical equipment stuff;” It also goes toward the toys for therapy. For example, there were beanbag frogs that were missing eyes and somebody drew their eyes on with a Sharpie. And with the money raised, they were able to replace the frogs, and these beanbag frogs actually had eyes. Proceeds from the dance marathon are put toward a variety of hospital units, research and other areas of need.
In addition, when there are no routines, other children and families shared their experiences with the hospital and its doctors, to develop a deeper understanding of how important the fundraising is.
While there is as yet no known cure for cerebral palsy, there is treatment. As Danica Theodorakos (the twins’ mother) notes, the symptoms can be treated and their prime doctor, Dr. Sally Evans chief of pediatric rehabilitation medicine at the Washington hospital, “really cares.”
Terp Thon has gained particular popularity because of Penn State’s 46-hour-long THON – the oldest and longest dance marathon nationwide. Executive Director of the group, Melanie Modula, was inspired by her older brother when he participated as a morale dancer in THON. She decided to be active in fundraising. And in just four short years, the organization has grown substantially in both “fundraising and attendance,” as has the event itself.
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