For The Kids: What I learned from BuckeyeThon

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By: Cece Utendorf | Agribusiness and Applied Economics | Columbus Grove, OH

As a senior, I have had many awesome and inspiring experiences throughout my years at Ohio State. Above all, BuckeyeThon has been the most incredible event that I have ever been a part of. BuckeyeThon is an event put on by the students at Ohio State that raises money for the Oncology/Hematology and Bone Marrow Transplant Departments at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. The fundraising happens all year, but the main event is the Dance Marathon, which is held each year at the beginning of February. In fact, BuckeyeThon is the largest student-run philanthropy event in the state of Ohio! The Dance Marathon is centered around the children and families from Nationwide Children’s that participate. The children that attend are befittingly called “Miracle Kids.”Here’s a few of things that I have learned from my BuckeyeThon experience & why I think you should participate, too:

  1. My troubles are small I think that every single Ohio State student that participates in BuckeyeThon leaves feeling this way. Although my day-to-day may seem stressful and I may think life is hard, I have never endured what these children have endured. During the Dance Marathon, the dancers stand and dance for 12 hours without sitting down. We dance “for the kids who can’t” and because our exhaustion during that time is nothing compared to the exhaustion of what the children and their families battle daily.
  1. Always take a moment to make someone’s day This is something that you will never, ever regret doing. At BuckeyeThon, the Miracle Kids enter the event by running down a red carpet through a tunnel of loving Buckeye students that can’t wait to meet them and throughout the event they are given celebrity status. Their smiles alone make the event worth attending!
  1. Service brings people together I met one of my very best friends at BuckeyeThon in 2015! We participated in BuckeyeThon this year together as well. The camaraderie among the Ohio State community is felt very deeply at BuckeyeThon. You can feel the sense of community among everyone who is packed in the main hall of the Union when we all put our arms our one another and sing Carmen Ohio. This is a moment that I will never forget.
  1. Don’t underestimate your own ability to make a difference And amazing things happen when people come together and decide to make a difference. This year at BuckeyeThon, we collectively raised $1,338,872 for the kids at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Such an impressive number can only come from the dedication and the hearts of many!
  1. Children are better dancers than I am Truly, these Miracle Kids have better moves than I do. But it doesn’t matter! I learned at BuckeyeThon to put myself out there! You do not have to be the best at something to do it. Have confidence and step out of your comfort zone. This is where personal growth happens!
  1. Keep moving forward. One of my favorite side events at BuckeyeThon was the face painting. The Miracle Kids are given paint and use the dancers as their canvas. One sweet little boy, Hayden, drew a big red heart on my arm! Out of the blue, he told me that he wants to be a hockey player and a doctor when he grows up. This small child has been through so much, but yet has big dreams and hope for tomorrow. It’s such a great reminder of the need for strength and faith in our lives even when things seem impossible.
  1. Always take advantage of opportunities I will forever be thankful that I took advantage of the opportunity to participate in BuckeyeThon!

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