The third annual IonaTHON raised more than $18,000 for a local children's hospital. Photos courtesy of Alexander Galbreath
NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. -- Iona College hosted its third annual IonaTHON dance marathon Friday, December 2, in the Hynes Athletics Center. The event was a fundraiser for the Children's Miracle Network and the Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital in Valhalla, N.Y. The six-hour dance marathon raised more than $18,000.
"We like to say 'we take the hospital out of the hospital' and we really try to help the kids out of the hospital for the first time in a long time," said Amanda Cifelli '18
, co-chair of IonaTHON and Gaels Activities Board executive board member. "It was so amazing to see how happy these kids can actually be and how much hope they have. I think a lot of that comes from how much support they have from us in their community."
The national organization and the local hospital support children with cancer, prolonged illness and injury. Iona's student organizations, clubs and student-athletes signed up as teams to compete to raise money and awareness for the children’s hospital.
"IonaTHON is one of the few times athletes, Greek-life and all of our clubs and organizations come together 'For the Kids,'" said Devika Joshi '18
, co-chair of IonaTHON and member of Iona's women's water polo team.
"One of the parents had shared a story and began to tear up as she told us this event and other dance marathons like it were some of the only times her little girl felt like a normal kid because she was treated differently in school," added Joshi. "It is just incredible how much support we received from the school and local community so we can continue to give to the hospital and truly make a difference in so many important young lives."
"IonaTHON was a great opportunity not only to give back, but to create a bond with our community while doing it," said Jessica Paolucci '19
, a member of Iona's volleyball program and Student-Athlete Advisory Committee secretary. “These families need our financial and emotional support, and it's nice to know we had a part in their healing process."
The event benefited Hudson Valley children undergoing open-heart surgery, brain surgery, trauma and burn care, cancer treatments and other advanced services at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital. Students shared the dance floor with multiple families whose children have had lifesaving and life-changing care at the children’s hospital for the Hudson Valley and Fairfield County. The hospital supports the area's tiniest and sickest babies.
Dance marathons occur on college campuses nationwide and raise more $6 million annually for local Children's Miracle Network hospitals. IonaTHON joins the northeast as one of the few dance marathons of its kind in the region.