By Hannah Ziegler
For The Diamondback
During an Instagram livestream on Nov. 13, members of the internal team and executive board of Terp Thon, an organization at the University of Maryland that raises money for Children’s National Hospital, gathered on the steps of McKeldin Library to share the results of their virtual Day of Miracles fundraiser.
Ten people revealed the grand total of Terp Thon’s 24-hour fundraising push: $42,375.81. Below them, others stood with signs spelling the organization’s slogan, “For The Kids.”
Day of Miracles is one of Terp Thon’s biggest annual fundraisers. The event took place virtually this year, from noon on Nov. 12 to noon on Nov. 13, and all funds went directly to the Children’s National Hospital’s COVID-19 Emergency Action Fund to provide relief for children affected by the pandemic.
Jackie Blair, a senior kinesiology and psychology major who serves as the group’s executive director, said that amid the pandemic, this year’s fundraiser was more important than ever.
Julia Mavrikes, a sophomore elementary education major who raised a total of $127, agreed.
“This year, it’s honestly more important because I know they were fundraising for things related to COVID-19 … It’s now more important to raise money to try and get face shields, masks, and gloves,” Mavrikes said.
Matt Herskovitz, Terp Thon’s fundraising chair, said the pandemic only adds to challenges that kids already face at Children’s National.
“With the pandemic, kids still need to be taken care of for that … but other health issues haven’t gone away either,” said Herskovitz, a junior English and government and politics major.
Despite some adjustments made to Terp Thon functions this year, Blair said members of the organization are happy to provide support and funding in whatever way possible for the hospital.
The organization’s fundraising goal for this year was $52,000 — one dollar for each child who has tested positive for COVID-19 in Maryland and Washington, D.C.
“We wanted to create a number that would resonate with people and would really encourage them to fundraise or to donate,” Blair said. “We really wanted that number to resonate and … inspire people to take action.”
Although Terp Thon fell short of its original goal, members of the organization were proud of their virtual fundraising effort.
“Seeing that we were still able, given everything going on, to raise so much money for the kids and make so many miracles for them — it was just unbelievable,” said Jake Maggid, a junior finance and marketing major who serves as the Terp Thon public relations chair.
This year’s Day of Miracles included more ways for participants to get involved, such as a Zoom session and a PPE fundraising challenge. A popular new feature of the event was a livestream with one of Terp Thon’s “Miracle Kids.”
The livestream resonated with students such as Jaanavi Selvaraj, a sophomore animal sciences major who raised $133 for Day of Miracles. Selvaraj said the event reminded her of how strong the connections are between Terp Thon participants and the children they help.
“So many people have a personal connection to the cause [and] with the children that they’re actually helping,” Selvaraj said. “We’re actually making a difference.”
Terp Thon executives said spreading awareness to the local community about their cause was the event’s ultimate goal.
“Day of Miracles is all about hope. No matter what the situation is, we’re always going to be there for the children and families at Children’s National Hospital … no matter if we’re all together at the University of Maryland or if we’re scattered throughout the country,” Maggid said.