Dancing for a new children’s hospital- Wando’s annual WandoThon

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Dancing for a new children’s hospital- Wando’s annual WandoThon

Peyton Raybon

Peyton Raybon

Peyton Raybon

Ashley Flint, Staff Writer

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Bright orange lights immediately catch my eye as I walk into the Wando gym. Smiling kids, ranging from small children to high schoolers, play games and there is not a single unhappy look. Signs that read “Bad Dancing Saves Lives” and “Build That Hospital” are hung up, but there is something on another sign that sticks out compared to the others.

For the Kids.

Wando’s second annual WandoThon took place Feb. 2 in the gym from 2-6 p.m. With a variety of activities including jump castles, ping pong and other games, participants were never left bored or repeating the same thing for hours on end.

Before the event, donations are taken through the website Donor Drive. WandoThon is a subdivision of the Miracle Network, which is the College of Charleston’s dance marathon. The amount made by WandoThon will go into the total made by Miracle Network overall, which will then be donated to the funding of the Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital.

Senior and Study Body President Pete Jonas was the director of this year’s Wandothon with junior Lleyton Spivey at his side as assistant director.

Planning began last May including constant meetings, ranging from all 10 interest meetings to participant meetings or even just to exclusive ones for those on the Executive Board. Meetings increased as the event got closer, including the board being required to attend three the week of the WandoThon.

“[Planning] definitely got more stressful as we went but it was fun to see certain milestones unravel,” Jonas said. “Twenty thousand was a big milestone that we hit and it was exciting when we got the Zumba guy to commit. It was exciting to get a DJ and it was exciting to get a jump castle. It was stressful but fun planning the whole way round.”

After all of the tremendous amount of meetings and donations, the day of WandoThon finally came and those involved were ecstatic.

“We got there at nine o’clock on Saturday morning and did various decorations like putting up posters and hanging up lights. Dancers started coming around 1:30 and the gym started to fill in. Everybody had on their shirts and their construction vests,” Jonas said. “I was super excited and a little bit nervous, not knowing where we would end up fundraising and what we would hit.”

As the day went on, things turned out perfectly. Attendees got to meet different patients throughout the day to get a feel for how much of an impact they were making.

“Throughout the event, we had different patients come in from the children’s hospital and they shared their stories about what it’s like to be in a children’s hospital,” Jonas said. “We really got to interact with them and everyone loved it.”

“The actual day ran really smooth,” Spivey said. “I thought we were gonna have more time issues where something would end too early or someone would be really late. Everything went pretty good, and I was overall really pleased.”

After dancing and playing games for hours, it was finally time to see the amount of money everyone involved ended up raising. Board members carrying big white signs walked on to the stage. They, along with all the participants and patients in the crowd, waited with anticipation to see how much their hard work paid off.

$35,400.

Compared to last year’s WandoThon, that is an increase in $10,000.

Not expecting the number to be so high, in that moment Jonas immediately felt a sense of pride.

“Seeing that number and knowing that everyone at the event had done the absolute best they could to support our cause and help those in need was an amazing feeling,” he said. “It was amazing to see months of hard work pay off in that one moment or raising the total.”

“My favorite memory from both years is getting up on the stage with the Executive Board and us not knowing the total until it’s literally shown to everybody,” Spivey said. “It makes me feel so warm inside because I am helping so many people with this huge total and being a part of this is amazing.”

“We blew last year out of the water and people seemed to really enjoy the event, interacting with the patients and meeting new people that are just as invested and excited for the event as they were,” Jonas said. “Other than that, it was really cool to see the community come together and Wando students make a difference while having a good time doing it.”

Even though the WandoThon was just at the beginning of this month, planning will already begin for next year’s event around mid-February.

Evy Apostolou

 

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