Into The Groove: How To Survive An 18-Hour Dance Marathon

What is HuskyTHON?

Connecticut Children’s Medical Center is a nationally recognized, non-profit children’s hospital and serves as the primary teaching hospital for UConn’s School of Medicine. They are one of 170 children’s hospitals across the US and Canada that comprise Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

At these hospitals, 62 children are treated by highly trained professionals every minute – that’s one child every second. From cancer to traumatic injuries or genetic diseases, Connecticut Children’s always has their doors open and never turns a family away.

Connecticut Children’s relies on OUR support and 2320 UConn students stepped up to the plate. They helped make HuskyTHON the 2nd largest event to support their efforts.

Through our efforts, and the generosity of our families and friends, we are helping Connecticut Children’s realize our goal of getting kids healthy and getting kids home. There are no limits to what we will do for a child, but no matter how far we go, it’s the trip home that truly heals.

In 2018, it is our goal to make HuskyTHON the event those amazing patient families deserve!



Sweating it out in a fieldhouse with 3,000 students


Last weekend, I had the amazing opportunity to participate as a dancer in HuskyTHON – UConn’s annual 18-hour dance marathon & fundraiser for Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. After months of fundraising & planning, the day was finally here. With a goal of raising $1 million by the end of it all – this HuskyTHON was sure to be one we’d never forget.

You might be thinking to yourself – 18 hours?! Are you insane?!

To be honest, I wasn’t sure if I could last the full time. I’d just gotten over the flu & definitely didn’t get enough sleep in preparation for the event. But by the time I was only one hour into dancing, I knew that I wasn’t stopping anytime soon. HuskyTHON brought together an entire college campus of clubs, organizations, Greek life, & students just wanting to dedicate their time to the cause. Never before have I experienced so much joy in one room. As the last minutes ticked away & the crowd of over 3,000 people waited to hear whether we’d reached our fundraising goal, I could feel the energy around me. Sweat, tears, exhaustion, & lots of laughter – all of this culminated in those final numbers appearing onstage.



We’d done it! $1 million For The Kids. But how, exactly, did we get there?



Even if you don’t think you’re thirsty, drink up. You won’t be sitting for awhile & it’s easy to underestimate how quickly you’ll get dehydrated – especially when you’re constantly moving. Step your hydration up a notch by mixing in Emergen-C packets. Your immune system will thank you later.


After eight or so hours (at this point, it’s well past midnight), it’s hard to stay focused. Switch things up by trying a new position – without sitting, of course. Lunges, squats, & handstands do wonders for clearing the mind. You’ll literally see things from a different point of view.


There’s a reason why your body isn’t hungry at 4AM – most likely, you’re sleeping. In order to keep dancing, it’s important to fuel yourself regularly. Snag allllll the free food you can, & listen to your body. Maybe it’s asking for Advil or a banana – but it’s fine if you head straight for the pizza, too.


At the top of every hour during HuskyTHON, the Management Team leads everyone in a “Morale Dance” – a ten-minute mashup of choreographed songs. It’s a great way to bring everyone back together, & attempting to master the Dance fills up most of your downtime. By the end, even the worst dancers (AKA, me) will have picked up some of the moves. Even now, I still find myself bopping along whenever a Morale song comes on…


With so much going on, it’s important not to lose sight of why you’re dancing for HuskyTHON in the first place. Throughout the night, children & parents share their stories as patients at CCMC – luckily, most have happy endings. For a few hours, the kids get to just be kids again. By being around them, you realize that they are unstoppable – & that by sharing in this journey, you are too. Whether they’re onstage hula-hooping, singing Taylor Swift, or filling the room with laughter, they remind us truly why we’re All In FTK.

Like all good things, HuskyTHON only comes once a year. Make a difference in the meantime by donating to the CCMC Foundation or get involved with other organizations in your community. Several universities have their own versions of HuskyTHON… but there’s truly nothing that compares to it. Until next time, keep on dancin’ ☺

x Lyss

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