Every minute, 62 children enter a Children’s Miracle Network hospital.
With this in mind, UCF students decided to take action by organizing the student philanthropy Knight-Thon, with a mission to “educate, inspire and unite our campus and community to provide ongoing support for Greater Orlando Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals,” according to its website. There are about 21 children that Knight-Thon supports, which it calls “miracle children,” and the organization raises money year-round through events and personal appeals.
The next fundraising event lined up is the Knight-Thon FT5K, which will take place Sept. 26 at the Reflecting Pond. Runners and joggers will get together and race to help raise money for Knight-Thon’s miracle children. Registration is $25, and check-in begins at 7 p.m. The race will start at 8 p.m. and is slated to end at about 11:30 p.m.
Nicole Ramirez, executive director for Knight-Thon, said last year’s 5K event raised more than $4,000, with the help of 200 runners and joggers.
“There isn’t really a monetary goal,” said Ramirez, a senior industrial engineering major. “We just hope for about 400 to 500 students to come to the event, so about double from last year.”
The race will begin at the Pond and weave its way around campus, but participants are not pressured to run. Miracle families usually join in on the 5K, and many people walk the route.
In addition to the 5K, Knight-Thon will host its biggest benefit event in the spring, the dance marathon. At this event, participants stand for 20 hours to celebrate the year’s fundraising efforts and honor the children, all while having fun.
The long-standing event is intended to help students understand and appreciate the long, excruciating hours that these children endure when they are admitted into local hospitals. Many students attend to support the efforts of those working to represent local children.
Kurt Owen, Knight-Thon fundraising chair for the 2014 event and special projects coordinator for the 2015 event, said being involved with the philanthropy was a highlight of his college experience.
“Being involved with Knight-Thon the past four years has been an incredible experience,” said Owen, a marketing major. “As a senior going into my last semester at college, it’s exciting to see the next leadership take this philanthropic effort to new heights.”
Tiffani Daniel is a Contributing Writer for the Central Florida Future.