Dancing to the finish, QTHON raises nearly $141,000 for Connecticut Children’s Medical Center

With an energy-infused six-hour marathon culminating months of fundraising effort, Bobcats danced to the finish at QTHON on March 23, raising an incredible $140,997.49 for kids and families relying on lifesaving care through Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.

QTHON, Quinnipiac’s largest student-run organization, rallies students and staff across the university each year to participate in this philanthropic event. Since 2011, QTHON has now raised over $1.6 million to provide treatments, resources, and healthcare services for children and families served by Connecticut Children’s.

This year’s QTHON activated the involvement of over 1,250 members of Bobcat Nation and raised nearly $40,000 more than last year.

Erin Gallacher, manager for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Programs and Peer-to-Peer fundraising, said this year’s huge success shows QTHON has returned to pre-pandemic strength in numbers and support.

“I think it’s amazing. This is the highest number of participants they’ve had since 2019,” said Gallacher. “We’re just really grateful for all of the organizations that are taking their Saturday to be here, showing their skills with all of the dance performances, and showing their kindness to the children and their families — and their determination to raise a lot of money for Connecticut Children’s and the Greatest Need Children’s Fund.”

The fund is critical to providing necessary resources for the best patient and family care at Connecticut Children’s, the only free-standing pediatric hospital in Connecticut providing life-saving care to kids in the local community. The Greatest Need Children’s Fund assists Connecticut Children’s with purchasing specialty equipment, funding patient support and research, and helping to attract and retain world-renowned physicians.

Gallacher worked with QTHON’s executive board of 18 Quinnipiac students as QTHON Hospital Adviser for Connecticut Children’s.

“They do all of the work, and they have really taken the time to be thoughtful, especially for the children and families, who are having such a great time. They feel welcome and included in everything,” said Gallacher.

The children and families were welcomed and celebrated from the opening ceremony at noon to the closing reveal at 6 p.m. Among Connecticut Children’s families and excited kids enjoying QTHON activities, dances, and friendly support from students was care recipient Ella Botts and her family, the 2024 Miracle Network Hospitals Champion Family.

The Botts family has enjoyed attending QTHON for a number of years, said dad, Charles Botts.

“QTHON is fantastic because it’s a demonstration of commitment and investment, particularly because it’s from a smaller, private school,” said Botts. “It’s something that the kids look forward to because they are treated like superstars, and the students here are so warm and so welcoming. So it’s one of the highlights of the year for us, and being here as the Champion Family this year makes it that much more special.”

QTHON Executive Director Emma Conklin ’24, a nursing major, said this year’s QTHON has been an enriching experience for herself and QTHON’s dedicated members, who each hold different chair positions.

“We started working on this as soon as we transitioned to our new E-board last year in May,” said Conklin. “I think QTHON brought a lot of energy into our program last year, and this year, we really tried to engage the Quinnipiac community. We designed a new plan for the way we recruited people which worked out in our favor.”

Conklin said the executive board is especially grateful to all of the Bobcats who came out to perform as groups and dance with their organizations for hours in the Recreation Center.

“The performance groups are so amazing and bring so much energy to our program. Just seeing everyone having so much fun after everything you’ve planned all year is so worth it,” said Conklin.

First-time QTHON participant Ella Isleib ’25, an occupational therapy major and president of Gamma Phi Beta, was out on the floor with her sorority and was also part of QTHON’s dance-floor Morale Team. Additionally, Isleib was among an impressive number of QTHON participants recognized at the event for individually raising over $1,000 toward this year’s total.

“I’ve been really passionate about it,” said Isleib. “My cousin, who is healthy now, was diagnosed with cancer when she was six, and my family has been really passionate about raising money to help her and other kids. So when I found out about QTHON, I wanted to help here, and try to raise money, and do what I can.”

Nursing major Garrett Misa ’24, participated in QTHON for the first time this year as a member of Quinnipiac University Student Nurses Association.

“It was an eye-opening experience. It was really wonderful. To do this for the kids was a life-changing opportunity,” Misa said.

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