McDance-a-Thon hosts charity dance

Club organizes day long event to raise money for children’s hospital

Executive leaders and committee heads of McDance-a-Thon reveal how much money the club raised over the year to close out the night.

Music, laughter, and excitement rang from McLean’s lower gym on Saturday, March 18, as all the hard work the members and student leaders of McDance-a-Thon have put into raising money for Children’s National Hospital came to a close with their annual dance marathon.

“The dance is the best part of being in McDance-a-Thon,” executive leader (exec), Sasha Zeltser said. “I love seeing everyone coming together and celebrating for the kids.”

Each year McDance-a-Thon holds a variety of fundraisers which work to raise money for Children’s National Hospital, but the biggest fundraising push comes towards the end of the year. The seven hour dance marathon shares a name with the club and is packed with games, guest speakers, and guest performers in between.

“I just really want the dance to reflect the amount of work we put into the club all year,” Zeltser said. “I want to see that all that work wasn’t for nothing.”

Zeltser has been a part of the club for four years. While at first only joining because it was a popular club and something she could do with her friends, the cause McDance-a-Thon works for quickly grew close to her heart. She took larger roles as the head of advertising her junior year and now, as a senior, she is one of the club’s execs.

“A lot of my friends older than me were execs and heads so they really inspired me to take a larger role in the club,” Zeltser said.

This year the students of McDance-a-Thon increased their impact on the community from previous years. They gained five sponsorships from outside organizations and held many successful fundraisers in the McLean area, including one at Z-Burger and another at Big Buns.

“This year the executive leaders have been really hands on,” McDance-a-Thon sponsor Bridget Donoghue said. “It’s been really great to see them plan fundraisers themselves and create partnerships with companies we haven’t had partnerships with in years past.”

Planning for the dance has been a yearlong process for execs and committee heads, but the actual day of the dance started at 9 am for McDance-a-Thon members. They spent 3 hours decorating the gym and setting up for the night.

“It wasn’t ideal to have to wake up super early, but I knew I was doing it for such a good cause so it was worth it,” sophomore Deena Barmawi said.

After a break for lunch, the dance kicked off with stories from a miracle kid named Victoria. Miracle kids are kids who received treatment at Children’s National Hospital, recovered, and are now able to go about their life.

“It was really encouraging to hear Victoria speak and see the impact all of the work we put into the club is making,” Barmawi said.

The rest of the night included guest performances from juniors Nathan Mahoney, Philip Rotondo and Noah Chlan, as well as a guest DJ appearance from senior Quinn Sullivan.

“To DJ McDance-a-Thon and see the impact our school community can make was such a fun and inspiring experience,” Sullivan said.

The dance also served as one last push to fundraise for Children’s National Hospital. The execs incorporated donating into fun activities such as karaoke, where students could donate $20 to nominate a friend to sing, and stage jail, where students could donate $5 to have a friend stuck dancing on the stage.

“We wanted everyone to have fun and make memories while also raising as much money as possible,” Zeltser said.

The dance marathon always ends with a big reveal of how much money the club has raised over the year after the final pushes of the day. Last year, McDance-a-Thon raised just over $58,000 for Children’s National Hospital, and their goal this year was to beat that amount.

“To the kids the monetary goal is really important but I try to remind them that the impact we make and awareness we spread is what really counts,” Donoghue said.

The gym roared with excitement when the McDance-a-Thone leadership team revealed that the club raised just over $61,000 for Children’s National Hospital.

“I’m so happy and so proud of everyone,” Zeltser said. “We really made a difference for the kids.”