From the inside: ‘I survived a State-a-Thon’

Noah Brown

It was about five months ago when the ever-bubbly Maggie Aldrich, UPC State-a-Thon coordinator, approached, or rather attacked, me about being involved in a 12-hour dance marathon to help raise money for Children’s Miracle Network. I was caught way off guard, how could she be so excited about something that was happening in March?

After some persistence on her part, I agreed to sign up as a participant and pledged to raise $65 dollars. I then promptly forgot about it until this week when State-A-Thon began that Saturday morning. What I will never forget is how this event changed my views about charity and how big of an impact that we as college students can make, so let me take you through that whirlwind of a day at the Volstorff Ball Room (VBR).

9:30 a.m. 

I was all signed in and had received my stylish T-shirt. I realized I was in for an interesting day when I was told to put on a lion mane, as my team was named the lion tamers (it was a circus themed event). Shannon Lajoie and Courtney DeMers were the morale leaders for my group, and they were determined to win the “spirit cape” award. This meant no sitting, no breaks and ear-to-ear smiling for the next 12 hours. It was at this point I realized I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

10 a.m. 

State-a-Thon began with a bang. The participants all lined up, forming a tunnel that zigged and zagged throughout the VBR. The miracle families then entered like NBA players in the finals and were treated like celebrities. It was an awesome way to start, my blood was pumping and I was super excited to see what happened next.


By lunch time all 400 or so of us learned the morale dance, which was a roughly four-minute long cheese-fest with everything from disco to the robot. Our team also got to meet our miracle family, the Comes’. Their 7-year-old son, Noah, is an awesome kid. He has already been through more in his life than most ever have to deal with. It was then when I saw where our dollars were really going: to help little kids who had to deal with very grown-up problems. Noah and I hit it off quickly, seeing as we share the same name. We also both love to be the center of attention, which worked out beautifully.

3 p.m.

Five hours into the marathon and our team was in the heat of the “ultimate challenge;” a collection of contests ranging from races to puzzles, to digging a candy bar out of a diaper filled with baby food with nothing but your face. I chose to pass on that one. The events were punctuated by morale dances, magicians, and stories from the miracle families about how much our efforts and fundraising meant to them. The constant roller coaster of emotion was beginning to take its toll, but I couldn’t wait to see what the night would bring.

8 p.m.

After 10 hours of doing the morale dance, Noah and I had it down pat. We popped the bubbles and flexed our muscles perfectly on cue. Nevertheless, we were exhausted, and had probably eaten too much pasta at dinner. But the finish line was near and there was no sense in giving up at that point.

9:45 p.m.

For about the last hour of State-A-Thon, everyone donned their baseball hats and sunglasses made of glow sticks and tore up the dance floor. It was one last push to have fun with the kids we got to spend the day with. When the dancing had ended and everyone was near collapsing from dance exhaustion, we watched a video put together throughout the day by executive board member Alex Kunz. It seemed like forever ago when I had met Courtney, Shannon, Noah and the rest of my teammates in the morning. At the end of the video was the number we had all been waiting for. It was the total amount fundraised to support Sanford Children’s Hospital and Children’s Miracle Network.


When that number came up tears of joy and cheering, hugging and high fives were shared between participants and families alike. The number was nearly twice what was raised last year and had blown all of the goals out of the water. In our awestruck stupor we were told to walk outside for one more surprise. Fireworks were going off in the distance; it was a magical ending to a very special day.