Community members ‘stand for kids who can’t’

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Participants give high-fives to children impacted by the Children’s Miracle Network on Saturday afternoon at Charles Koch Arena. Shockerthon is a 12-hour event in which participants stand the entire time and collect money for the program which aids children with disabilities. 

Madeline Deabler

N

ot onechair was on site Saturday at Charles Koch Arena.

For 12 hours straight, hundreds of students stood in the arena for Shockerthon.

“It’s basically a year-long fundraising awareness campaign for the Children’s Miracle Network, and every year we all get together at a location and stand for kids who can’t,” Shockerthon Executive Director Shelby Grosch said.

Since 2011, the event was held at Kansas Star Arena, but this year it made a return to the WSU campus — at Charles Koch Arena.

Grosch said Shockerthon originally started as a dance-a-thon to raise money for kids in need, but has since evolved to a bigger event with more activities and games for students to play.

Students were not the only ones attending the event. Families associated with the Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) also attended the event; some came up on stage to tell their story. 

After which, students would have a couple of hours to collect money for the family that just spoke.

Many students and families had returned to Shockerthon this year after attending previous ones in the past.

“They helped pay for free hearing aids for my two kids, and each hearing aid costs about $3,000,” Haley Buch said. “Their hearing is their only disability, but we still come here to give back to them and stand for the people who can’t.”

From bouncy castles to water-pong, there was a variety of games to keep students and families entertained throughout the 12 hours. 

“I think that Shockerthon gives students a great opportunity to start their passion of helping kids and the community, and what better way for them to do that then participate in this event?” said Kara Warkentine, head of CMN hospitals at Via Christi. “We also wouldn’t be able to have this event if it weren’t for all of the student sponsorships.”

Toward the end of the night, after the rave with DJ Tight Pants, the remainder of the students could barely feel their legs. 

But later, the closing ceremony began, and the opportunity to finally see how much money they had raised over the 12 hours was just minutes away.

When the time finally came, Shockerthon staff walked onto the stage, eight of them carrying big white boards that they hid from the audience. 

With eager anticipation, students began counting down from 10 for the big reveal. 

After each number, students shouted louder and faster, until finally reaching 1. 

With that, the eight members lifted the boards above their heads, revealing $100,236.37. 

All at once, the gym erupted into whoops and cheers, shirts were thrown up in the air and all the members were jumping up and down and screaming in disbelief, despite all having sore legs. 

After standing for 12 hours, students and members had broken the record of what had been raised in previous years, and for Grosch, the feeling was bittersweet. 

“This year was extremely difficult, sponsorships have always been a huge source of funds for us in the past and this year they were again, but we had a couple of major businesses drop in the weeks leading up to the event and another one actually a couple of days before,” Grosch said. “This put a lot of pressure on us to grow where we have always struggled in the past, and that was personal fundraising.”

Despite the struggles Shockerthon members had with getting sponsorships, Grosch said there was one thing that helped them conquer it.

“We overcame it by making sure that when we were doing fundraising campaigns during he event we tied them back to the cause and that is CMN,” he said. “Every minute 62 kids are admitted to a CMN hospital nationally, so we challenged dancers to go raise $62 for those kids. Overall, personal fundraising ended up doubling from last year, which is a huge accomplishment.”