A University of New Mexico fundraising organization got creative raising money for children facing serious illnesses during Miracle Week.
LoboTHON, the group responsible for last week’s philanthropy efforts, aims to raise money for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, a non-profit organization that fundraises for more than 170 children’s hospitals.
On Thursday, UNM students hosted a variety of events to fundraise before the annual LoboTHON Dance Marathon, including taping students to a wall and the chance to win a gift basket.
Aaron Ochoa, executive director of LoboTHON, said the group is UNM’s largest student-run philanthropy organization.
“A lot of the hospitals rely on our money to fund a lot of treatments. All of our money goes directly to the child life department of UNM Children’s Hospital, and so everything that we do is sent to support children receiving treatment, whether it’s for chemo or for other degenerative diseases,” Ochoa said.
The UNM Children’s Hospital is the only Children’s Miracle Network hospital in New Mexico, according to . It treats over 66,000 children with physical disabilities, diseases or other ailments every year.
Ochoa said LoboTHON funds pay for anything from medical equipment to toys and anything that could help improve the quality of life for children receiving treatment.
LoboTHON surpassed its goal of raising $6,600 in one day and ended up raising $7,553 from the events on Thursday.
The fundraising events included a “hype room” where participants could sign up for the dance marathon and learn how to collect donation pledges for their dance performance.
There was also a fundraising table where students could donate money to purchase strips of masking tape to tape Noah Brooks, the president of the Associated Students of UNM, and Jess Marello, the LoboTHON finance director, to a wall.
The day’s fundraising events concluded with basket bingo, where students could donate for a chance to win baskets filled with prizes. The baskets had themes such as a college theme, which included items like ramen noodles and school supplies.
The restaurants in the Student Union Building were also given an opportunity to contribute to fundraising efforts. Cashiers asked customers if they would like to donate $1 or more to the UNM Children’s Hospital.
Brooks, who remained taped to a SUB wall for two hours, said LoboTHON fundraising was important because of its direct impact on families in Albuquerque.
“It’s not just kids with cancer, it’s kids with a lot of medical issues,” Brooks said. “We really want to do what we can to help raise money so that those families don’t have to worry about money while they’re out there trying to take care of their children.”
Marrello, who was also taped to a wall for two hours, is in charge of coordinating fundraising events and managing LoboTHON’s budget.
“I’ve been a part of LoboTHON my whole time at UNM,” she said. “It’s a very special organization to me, and it’s definitely shaped my college experience. After meeting the Miracle Kids that are treated at UNM Children’s Hospital, it just brings their perspective so much closer to you.”
The week of fundraising culminates in the LoboTHON Dance Marathon, a 13-hour dance party where students dance and stand for the duration of the event to show their support for the children who face life-threatening illnesses.
Anyone interested in becoming involved or donating can visit
Tom Hanlon is a news reporter at the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @TomHanlonNM.