COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH)–The largest student-run philanthropy organization in Ohio, BuckeyeThon, returns as an in-person event after going virtual last year.
After being forced to cut the rug virtually last year because of the pandemic, Buckeyes are set to take to the in-person stage this weekend for the return of the annual BuckeyeThon Dance Marathon. Thousands of students are set to participate this weekend, each one brings with them their own “why?”
“I was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, and that was actually a week before the dance marathon in February,” said Bailey Ramsey, a cancer survivor who now serves as the Director of Family Relations for BuckeyeThon.
For Ramsey, a fourth-year student, her diagnosis last year brought a whole new meaning to the group’s mission.
“Of course, you never think it’s going to be you,” Ramsey said.
Doctors cleared Bailey last August, giving her a new perspective when supporting parents and their children facing similar battles.
“It is nice to be able to relate to them and have that piece of you that they can see that a lot of other people can’t,” said Ramsey.
Since 2001 BuckeyeThon has raised more than $12 million dollars for patients at Nationwide Children’s Hospital suffering from pediatric cancer and other blood-related illnesses.
After moving virtual in 2020, this year’s BuckeyeThon returns in person with some changes.
The event, which in the past has taken place in February, will now be held in November. They’re also moving from the Ohio Union to the RPAC on campus.
“Our last in-person dance marathon was 636 days ago, so it’s kind of exciting. There’s a lot of people on campus that haven’t experienced the dance marathon before,” said Jessica Quach, the BuckeyeThon Marketing and Communications Director.
This will be Quach’s seventh year.
“My first ever marathon I went to was my sophomore year of high school,” Quach said.
She didn’t know it at the time, Quach attended that first BuckeyeThon with Jasmohan Bawa.
“I really realized how much difference I can make as a high schooler raising $100 or $200, or even $5,” Bawa said.
Bawa now goes from high school to high school in central Ohio, hoping to inspire future Buckeyes to continue the tradition.
“It really has prompted me to do more, and focus on philanthropy as I graduate college, and making sure I never lose that part of me,” said Bawa.
For Quach and Bawa, the mission they unknowingly began together seven years ago comes full circle in 2021.
With all three students, working together to create support for new children facing the same battles.
“You’re also supporting the next generation of leaders and fostering the spirit of philanthropy in thousands of Ohio State students,” Quach said.
The marathon is split up over the course of the weekend. They’ll go from 7 p.m. Saturday until 6 a.m. Sunday. Then they’ll get a short break before doing it all again from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Sunday.
This year, the group said their goal was to be happy with whatever amount of money they raised because they know the impact it has.