Cameron’s Story

cameron_cancerVWhen he was in sixth grade, Cameron was fast—really fast. He could run a mile in six minutes and forty seconds. But then in seventh grade, when he expected his times to improve, he slipped back to a nine-minute mile. The usual suspects were blamed—video games, not enough practice, or too many snacks. Then Cameron began to experience severe back pain that would regularly wake him up at night. It turned out that the same culprit that robbed him of his speed would threaten to take away much more.

“Over the course of the next couple of months, I went to many doctors and had x-rays, but nothing was found. Finally, in January 2010, I was sent for an MRI and an aggressive looking tumor was found in the right iliac wing of my pelvis,” recalled Cameron, of Burlington.

Within a week, Cameron was sent to Michael Isakoff, MD, director of clinical trials, Hematology/Oncology at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. Dr. Isakoff confirmed that Cameron had cancer. He was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer that occurs primarily in children. Cameron’s cancer had already spread to his lungs and bone marrow.

“The whole staff at Connecticut Children’s was wonderful. I was really scared, and they took the time to explain everything to me and to my family,” said Cameron.

“They wanted to make sure we were comfortable and had everything we needed. At that point I had no idea just how well I would get to know these people, or how much a part of my life they would become.”

Over the next year, Cameron had surgery and 14 rounds of chemotherapy. In one surgery lasting more than 10 hours, nearly one third of Cameron’s pelvis was removed along with the tumor. Physical therapy and more chemo followed through the summer months. Cameron finished his final round of chemo in November 2010.

Cam with Kappa Alpha Theta at HuskyTHON 2013!

Cam with Kappa Alpha Theta at HuskyTHON 2013!

“But we can’t forget that Cam was lucky, too,” said Scott, Cameron’s father. “If the tumor had spread just another half inch closer to the sacroiliac joint, too much of the pelvis would have had to be removed to give his leg a place to rest in the joint and give the support its needs to function properly. He would have lost his right leg. We are thankful the doctors could stop the tumor’s growth before it got to that.”

“Cam’s determination and spirit can’t be overstated. Before he was even done with his final round of chemo, he participated in Vie for the Kids 5k fundraiser. He’s an amazing young man,” said Danielle, Cameron’s mother. “He was not in the best shape on the day of the race. His blood counts were down and he was white as a sheet. It took him more than two hours to finish. But all his friends and supporters stuck with him and he finished the race in style—running across the finish line. Everyone cheered. It was a moment I won’t forget.”

“I completed chemo in November 2010 and the following April was cleared to play lacrosse—I scored my first goal in May,” added Cameron. “While I will never be as fast as I was in sixth grade, and I will always walk with a limp, I’m playing on both soccer and lacrosse teams at my high school. And, I’ve been cancer free for almost three years.” Dr. Isakoff concludes, “Cameron’s prognosis is good. But what’s outstanding is the way Cameron is living the life he wants. Despite his challenges, he still plays sports with great pride and enthusiasm. He helps other kids going through what he went through, and to see that there’s life on the other side of treatment. He’s a special young man.” 

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Our Co-Execs Experience the Dance Marathon Leadership Conference

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” -Margaret Mead

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This quote has been one of my favorites for a while now, and it’s so applicable to everything we do for HuskyTHON and the kids at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center – but nothing embodies this more than the experience that was had at the Dance Marathon Leadership Conference. Katie (my trusty co-exec) and I had the honor of attending DMLC in Chicago this July and it was an experience that won’t soon be forgotten. 550 student leaders from every corner of the country (and even Canada!) gathered for a jam-packed weekend to share ideas, celebrate our accomplishments, and plan for the future.

Seeing all of these people who are so passionate about Dance Marathons at their own schools really helped me see everything that we do in a whole new light. It’s absolutely incredible that we as a University were able to raise over $457,000 for Connecticut Children’s this past year, but we are by no means alone in this effort.

“Did you know that in 2014, more than 150 colleges and universities put on their own Dance Marathons and combined we all raised over $15.2 Million for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals across the nation? It’s pretty amazing what some thoughtful, committed citizens can do to change the lives of millions of kids and their families.”

Screen Shot 2014-08-26 at 10.52.45 PMWhile hanging out at the beautiful DePaul University for the weekend, we got to hear presentations from our fabulous DM Managers about the future of CMN Hospitals, listen to our fellow exec members talk about what strategies work for their schools, and we even got to share our own experience in gaining the support of our university!

Aside from just sitting and soaking up all of the knowledge of our peers, we also got to break out into groups to discuss strategy with students from different universities, had free time to hang out with all our new DM buddies (shout out to Quinnipiac, our fellow Connecticut Children’s benefactors!), explore the city of Chicago, and even got to learn a dance and perform as a huge group for National Dance Day.

Overall, this weekend helped to reinforce that by participating in HuskyTHON, we really are part of something huge – a nationwide movement to change the lives of countless children across the country by helping Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Never doubt that what we’re doing is making a difference, and certainly never forget that we are a part of something so much bigger than we know.

Thanks to DMLC, we already have some INCREDIBLE things up our sleeve to help make HuskyTHON 2015 better than ever before, so stay tuned…

Always For The Kids,

Laura

One of our own rides the CTChallenge

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I first participated in the CT Challenge 2 years ago, in 2012.  I had heard about it the year before through my local (Waterbury, CT) YMCA, but decided it would be too much to take on in 2011.  However, after hearing about how much fun everyone typically had, and because of my burning desire to complete a 100 mile bike ride (as strange as that may sound), I decided in late February/early March to sign up for the July 2012 ride. 

 
10559765_901248899888505_1271406456484361978_nI also had a lot of personal connections to the cause.  I was riding with Team Leever, which supports the Harold Leever Regional Cancer Center in Waterbury, CT, with a percentage of all funds raised by Team Leever for the CT Challenge would go directly going to the “Stepping Forward” program for cancer survivors at the Leever Center.  Funds we raised would also help start a LIVESTRONG exercise and wellness program for cancer survivors at the Waterbury YMCA.  Both the center and the Y are very close to my house and as such I felt more connected to the team knowing that we were benefiting programs that serve many people from my community.  
 
Shortly after signing up for the ride, I found out that my teammate, friend, and now hero Tucker Gowen had been diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML).   This shocked our entire community, but ultimately became a source of inspiration for many people, including myself.  I decided to ride in honor of Tucker, and now had even more motivation to ride and support the cause.  The stories he and his mother shared through his Facebook profile as well as Luck2Tuck, a Facebook page that chronicled his fight at Children’s Hospital of Boston, brought a better understanding of life as a childhood cancer patient to their growing network of followers/supporters, and also helped me raise more money for CT Challenge.  Tucker unfortunately passed away on October 9, 2012 but continues to be one of the largest reasons I return to ride each year.
 
I have other reasons to ride as well.  I am naturally a competitive person, and enjoy competing in running races and triathlons.  However, this ride is non-competitive and only about completion, and as such I really like the opportunity it gives to just enjoy the moment and complete something with others without worrying about what place you might come in, while supporting an awesome cause at the same time.  The beautiful opening ceremony that honors participating cancer survivors each year reinforces this sentiment and my desire to participate.  Each year on this ride, I have met new people on Team Leever, and ultimately learned a lot about them while we rode our 100 miles together.
 
“An event that combines supporting cancer survivors, meeting new people, and a physical challenge of a bike ride of anywhere from 10 to 100 miles is something I simply cannot pass up now that I’m involved.”
 
10550981_902636283083100_3182863360316717116_nAnd let’s talk about the cause a bit more.  The CT Challenge focuses on cancer survivorship and post-treatment wellness, which receives arguably less attention than patient wellness or research during treatment, yet is just as important.  The charity operates out of Southport, CT, and operates only in Connecticut to avoid becoming too large or less personable.  The CT Challenge has partner hospitals and clinics throughout the state, such as the Leever Center and CT Children’s, which, with support form those places, allows it to increase its fundraising efforts and get more people involved.  An organization that benefits hundreds of people yet still remains small enough to stay connected with each person is an ideal one to support.  
 
The most important element of success for a person involved with fundraising is to enjoy what they’re doing and have a reason or motivation to support whatever charity they are supporting.  The CT Challenge bike ride gives me this motivation and enjoyment each year, and as such I plan on participating for many years to come.
 
FTK,
Chris

What to bring ‘night of’ !

HuskyTHON is TOMORROW! If this is your first time dancing you may be feeling anxious, excited, and probably a little nervous but fear not! We have compiled a list of some of the most highly recommended items to bring ‘night of’ that will get you through all 18 hours without any stress! If you were planning on bringing a small bag, you may want to start over…

My HuskyTHON Bag

What to wear:

– Shorts, leggings, and sweatpants (bring all three!)

– Theme hour clothes! (dressing up takes time… and you have time to kill!)

– Sneakers, slippers, flip-flops, uggs (anything to change-up the feeling of your feet)

– Extra socks!

What to bring: 

– Deodorant

– Toothbrush/ toothpaste

– Face wash

– Hair Brush

– Any medications you may need

– Camera

What NOT to wear/ bring:

– Inappropriate or revealing clothing (remember there will be kids there!)

– Drugs, alcohol, weapons (HuskyTHON is a ZERO TOLERANCE event, you will be kicked out immediately if found)

– A negative attitude! This is all FOR THE KIDS!

WE CAN’T WAIT TO SEE YOU TOMORROW ON THE DANCE FLOOR! 

Is there something we missed that you can’t live without ‘night of’?! Feel free to comment below or tweet @HuskyTHON and help out those first time dancer!

Fundraise the “Fun” Way!

Dear HuskyTHON Friends,

As we approach the final weeks until HuskyTHON, the Management Team is here to support every dancer in their efforts to fundraising the $100 minimum donation! Please see the list below of Ten Great Ways to Fundraise!

http://prezi.com/pxqqd6g-ydje/copy-of-100-dollar-perspective/?kw=view-pxqqd6g-ydje&rc=ref-29232227

Ten Great Ways to Fundraise!          

1.      Reach out to family, friends, and loved ones by sending letters, e-mails, and Facebook messages!

2.      Recycle old phones, ink cartridges, and cans/bottles!

3.      Hold a bake/candy sale with your club or organization!

4.      Contact Chelsea@huskython.org to set up an opportunity to go canning with your club or organization!

5.      Ask local businesses for donations!

6.      Reach out to past high school and/or college professors for their support!

7.      Advertise the link to your HuskyTHON Donor Page through Facebook, Twitter, and other social media!

8.      Ask a local company if they will match whatever donations you raise through your own fundraising endeavors!

9.      Ask to place coin collection containers at local businesses for spare change that can go towards your fundraising goal!

10 Ask a local restaurant to donate a percentage of their profits during a specified period of time to HuskyTHON! 

Please feel free to reach out to Lauren Reinmann at lauren@huskython.org if you have any questions!

Happy Fundraising FTK Always!

Moe’s Fundraiser TODAY in Southington CT!!

Moe's

Today, at Moe’s Southwest Grill of Southington, CT there will be a fundraiser forHuskyTHON. It’s from 5PM-9PM and 15% of your purchase plus tips (so tip well) will be donated FTK! Print the flier and bring it with you so part of your purchase will be donated. And please, spread the word it’s For the Kids.

https://www.facebook.com/events/513656875324288/

The Miracle Walk Fashion Show is Finally Here!

This year the student-run HuskyTHON will be presenting its annual For the Kids Miracle Walk, a fashion show to benefit Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.

This unique event will take place the day of January 26th, 2013 and will function as the premiere special event leading up to HuskyTHON. The event will be advertised throughout the campus and the state to the general public. Admission will be $5 at the door in the Student Union ballroom and show times are as followed, 12 and 3pm.

There will be two student acapella performances by A-Minor and Extreme Measures. DJ Manni will be providing music for our wonderful models to walk to. Make sure to be in attendance as we have some special guests that will reveal the theme hours for the night of HuskyTHON!

Ciao Bella boutique will be hosting a trunk show and popular Rock Candy Jewelery will also be tabling outside of the event for your shopping needs.  You might have a chance at winning a HuskyTHON t-shirt or promotional items from Victoria’s Secret Pink & Vineyard Vines! We will also be selling HuskyTHON t-shirts to boost morale for the event. Hear your peers Miracle Stories as well as meet some Miracle families from Connecticut Children’s Medical Center as well. The Miracle Walk Fashion Show is the best way to get excited about the main event in February!

Dresses

We would also like to kick off the Miracle Walk with an awesome Social Media challenge for all teams signed up for the big night! 

Starting January 22nd (TWITTER TUESDAY), your team has the opportunity to earn money toward your ‘night of total’. You don’t have to be participating in the Miracle Walk to partake in the challenge! First place will receive $50, $30 for second, and $20 for third. In order to get points your team must participate in various social media challenges each day of the week prior to the Miracle Walk.

The challenges are as follows:

TUESDAY: Tweet @HuskyTHON WITH YOUR TEAM NAME to earn one point
WEDNESDAY: LIKE your team picture on the HuskyTHON Facebook for a point! Likes will be totaled on Friday Night
THURSDAY: If you have a team member who hasn’t followed @HuskyTHON on Twitter, FOLLOW US TODAY AND EARN 2 PONTS! Don’t forget to Tweet @HuskyTHON to confirm what team you are a part of!
FRIDAY: Tweet @HuskyTHON using #MiracleWalk to earn one point for your team!

The winners will be announced during the two shows on Saturday!

GOOD LUCK!

Do Good Buy Us … Literally

Remember back in elementary school at lunchtime when you sat down to eat your lunch after a long morning, you looked inside your lunchbox and BAM out spilled a note from mom reminding you to have a great day? Who didn’t love that?! Well those days of mom packing your lunch may be over but its never to late to get that special feeling of getting an awesome surprise halfway through one of the longest nights of your life! 

Do Good Buy Us

This year, HuskyTHON has teamed up with a company called DoGood Buy Us , who is offering awesome Dance Packs for friends and family to buy you as you dance your heart out for 18 hours on February 16th. These dance packs include awesome items that will help get you through the night as well as become cool keepsakes that no one else will have. These packs are only $30 and $15 goes directly toward your fundraising goal. 

My favorite part of the dancer bag is that the purchaser of the bag is able to write a note in the comment section of the order which will be projected LIVE ‘night of’! So its like the note in your lunchbox… only way cooler. 

If you have any questions regarding the Dance Packs, feel free to email Alli Cohen at cohen@huskython.org 

Follow the link below to purchase your very own Dancer Pack!

http://www.dogoodbuy.us/products/huskython-uconn-dancepacks 

From the alumni. For the kids.

HuskyTHON Alumni

 

UConn graduates have truly stepped up their game in support of HuskyTHON this year. They have inspired undergraduates by sharing their stories on the Alumni Twitter, joined us on Donor Drive to fundraise, and have spread the word to fellow alumni to accumulate over 250 contacts. Together, alumni have already fundraised over $600, and it’s all FTK.

 

On February 17th, the morning of our fundraising reveal, alumni who are registered on Donor Drive will have the special privilege of attending HuskyTHON’s first annual Family Alumni Brunch. This brunch will be held in the UConn Alumni Center where they will meet the Miracle Children, speak with their families, and catch up with fellow alumni who have helped make HuskyTHON what it is today.

 

Are you an alumni looking to give back in a special way this year? Consider making a donation through our HuskyTHON Alumni Fundraising Challenge, where any of these donation levels represents your commitment to the university and HuskyTHON!

 

18.81: The year of our university’s founding.

101.00: The number of UConn’s undergraduate major degree paths.

14.00: In celebration of HuskyTHON’s 14th year on UConn’s campus.

8.00: The number of undergraduate degrees available at UConn.

34.00: UConn Men’s Basketball players who have played or still play in the NBA.

16.17: For the days in February 2013 that we will be dancing for the kids.

29.00: The number of years that OOZEBALL has graced our campus.

7.00: The number of our Women’s Basketball NCAA Division I titles.

89.00: And for those 89 incredible consecutive wins…

101.67: The number of seats in Gampel Pavilion.

18.00: The number of hours we stand on OUR feet for those who can’t.

 

Check out our latest alumni newsletter on the HuskyTHON website.

Get connected with our Facebook page.

 

FTA. FTK.

 

Our 2013 New Years Resolutions

As Wikipedia states, “A New Year’s resolution is a commitment that a person makes to one or more personal goals, projects, or the reforming of a habit”. Sounds a lot like our motto for HuskyTHON right?! This year the HuskyTHON Management team has decided to set our own New Year’s Resolutions. From day one we have been setting long-term and short-term goals for ourselves and what we want this year’s HuskyTHON to be like, and as we turn the page of our calendar to January 1st we can see that HuskyTHON is only a little over six weeks away! To inspire you, we have decided to share some of these resolutions and hope that you too will make a New Year’s resolution to go above and beyond what you did last year, become a dancer, learn the morale dance, and help one more child than we could last year.

For the kids.

2013

Lauren Hagerty Social Media
“My New Year’s Resolution is to get 2,000 followers on the @HuskyTHON Twitter by February 17th!”

Katie Pape Vice President of Community Relations
“My HuskyTHON New Year’s Resolution is to do everything in my power to make HuskyTHON 2013 the most successful one thus far and to exceed my past personal fundraising efforts.”

Lauren Cunningham Alumni Relations
“My HuskyTHON Resolution is to cherish every child I come in contact with, whether it is at CCMC game nights, volunteering for Big Brothers Big Sisters, or otherwise. Children continue to inspire me and at college it can be tough to remember that when you’re caught up in everything else going on!”

Lindsay Rauch Morale
“My HuskyTHON resolution is to have more people than ever participating at HuskyTHON, to have EVERYONE in the field house know the morale dance by 12 pm on February 17th, and to blow away the total from last year!”

Alex Addabbo Vice President of Recruitment
“My HuskyTHON resolution is to raise $2,000 FTK!”

Emily Collins Creative
“My new year’s resolution is to do the absolute best I can academically.”

Kenzi Tedeschi Co-Executive Director
“My New Year’s resolution for this year is to be there for the Management Team and to support them in any way that I can and to not stress about the little things (or even the big things). My goal is to stay positive and to continue making miracles =)”

Ariana Giacco Vice President of Operations
“My New Year’s Resolution would be to have the night of run smoothly from an Operations standpoint. And more broadly to remember that everything we do for HuskyTHON is for the kids and any help that we can provide is making a difference in their lives.”

Chelsea Woicekowski Canning
“My resolution is to “personally raise over $500 dollars for HuskyTHON””

Ricky Holtz Dancer Relations
“My honest ones would be silly, like “Have a prime number of dancers on the night of HuskyTHON”, and… See? It’s just not great. Ultimately, I think my goal is to do my best to live up to what Meg and I have been talking about all year – we say that HuskyTHON is this inspiring, rewarding, fun event, and I know that it will be… But I just feel like we’re at a turning point in HuskyTHON, for some reason, and I want to keep working to make sure we’re pointing it in the right direction!”

Mike McLachlan Corporate Sponsorship
“I really want us to raise 500,000$. That would be sweet!”

Adrianna Rinaldi Special Events
“My HuskyTHON resolution this year is to not complain ONCE while I am at the event. I want to try to remain positive 100% of the time, and not give in to being tired, or my feet hurting.”

We would love to hear what you think! Comment on this post with what your 2013 New Year’s resolution is, or Tweet it to @HuskyTHON!