Flash-A-Thon raises money for Akron Children’s Hospital

Kent State students dance during the KSU Flash-A-Thon at the Student Recreation and Wellness Center on Saturday, April 2, 2016.

Angelo Angel

The KSU Flash-A-Thon hosted its annual non-profit philanthropic event at the Student Recreation and Wellness Center on Saturday, raising more than $31,000. The Flash-A-Thon is a 12-hour dance marathon event that raises money for the hematology and oncology department of Akron Children’s Hospital.

Dr. Jeffrey Hord, director of hematology and oncology at the Akron Children’s Hospital, explained that this event is a way to fundraise for families who benefit from the philanthropy. The hospital currently serves 33 counties in Ohio.

“The money goes toward things that families might need while taking their kids to the hospital, whether it be gas gift cards for families who have to travel far (or) providing lunch vouchers for the families,” Hord said.

The money also goes to help kids receiving treatment, such as providing for a school teacher to tutor the kids so that they don’t fall behind in their studies.

This is the fourth year for the dance marathon since its start in April 2013 when the event raised $14,000. The amount the KSU Flash-A-Thon raises has steadily increased over the years, with this year’s goal set at $40,000.

The idea for a dance marathon was partially inspired by other universities, particularly Penn State University where students raised $9,770,332 at the Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon February 2016. 

Lucas Misera, a junior economics major, is the student organization chair for the event. This will be his first year involved with the event.  

“I wanted to get (involved) and coming from Pennsylvania, Penn State had their own dance marathon and I was involved with the event,” Misera said.

Knowing that this event would help out kids in need and their families, Misera felt good about participating and wanted to be a part of the KSU Flash-A-Thon.

One of the families who benefit from the fundraiser is Angela Boric and her 8-year-old son Ryan Encinas. Encinas is a cancer survivor and has been a patient at Akron Children’s Hospital since 2010. He was first diagnosed with pleuropulmonary blastoma, a rare cancer that affects the lungs of young children.

“Last year was the first KSU Flash-A-Thon we were asked to participate with,” Boric said. “We even were able to come speak to the crowds of people about Ryan’s cancer story.”

Encinas said he likes coming to the dance marathon because he gets to dance and eat as many snacks as he can along with many volunteers who help make the 12-hour dance marathon a success.

Hilary Shafer, a senior advertising major and president of the KSU Flash-A-Thon, has been involved with the dance marathon since its inception.

“Each year our fundraising event goal increases dramatically,” Shafer said, adding that each year she sees more students get involved and help them reach their monetary goal.

This year, the KSU Flash-A-Thon raised $31,264.42. Last year, the organization raised more than $37,000. While the organization fell short of its fundraising goal by more than $8,000, Misera emphasized that the event is more about doing good rather than just raising money.

“It isn’t really about the dollar amount,” Misera said. “It is more about the great commitment college students are putting in (and) their time and effort to help out a great cause and those in need.”

The Flash-A-Thon committee is still working to count the number of participants at this year’s event. Registration was open at the door throughout the day. 

Angelo Angel is an entertainment reporter for The Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].