After a postponement of several months, the University of New Mexico LoboTHON’s highly anticipated dance marathon finally occurred on Saturday, Nov. 7, raising $80,055 for UNM’s Children’s Hospital — $3,000 more than their target goal.
LoboTHON is the largest student-run philanthropy organization at UNM. According to Noah Lucero, LoboTHON’s executive director, their goal is to raise money and awareness for UNM’s Children’s Hospital through creative events like dodgeball or bingo.
Lucero said this year, due to COVID-19 concerns, the events shifted online. They included silent actions, social media events and “dine to donate” at restaurants. Leading up to the dance marathon, various student organizations around UNM helped to raise awareness about the upcoming events.
“Driving home peer-to peer fundraising aspects makes us different from other groups,” Lucero said.
The dance marathon was the final fundraising event for LoboTHON. A multitude of activities were offered in the eight hour livestream on Saturday, including performances and talks. Different local New Mexican artists were featured, including Gonzalo, a singer known for his traditional Mexican folk songs.
The LoboTHON morale team also taught dances, which the marathon is known for. Miracle kids — children at UNMH who benefit under the Children’s Miracle Network Hospital non-profit organization — were able to share their stories, play games with the audience and sing songs.
“It isn’t really about the number (raised),” Lucero said. “Instead, we want to focus on the kids and their stories.”
This was one of the first programs under the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals organization to host the dance marathon online, so there were a number of other college organizations watching and learning from the event, Lucero explained.
At the end of the night, the total amount raised was revealed, sparking an emotional moment for LoboTHON members and the UNM community.
“(I felt very) emotional and relieved,” Bryan Marquez, LoboTHON partnership/stewardship chair, said. “This year took away a lot of our ability to reach out for fundraising, and to see what we accomplished virtually was really amazing for us.”
Nikita Jaiswal is a freelance reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @NikitaJswl