Texas THON has spent the year raising money and awareness for Dell Children’s Medical Center, but its impact is greater than just monetary sums.
Every year, Texas THON holds a 12-hour Dance Marathon to celebrate the young lives they have changed. Texas THON invited the kids who have received financial assistance through the fundraiser to the event Sunday, held in Gregory Gym. This year, the event raised $228,138.69.
One of these “Miracle Kids” was Parker Andres, a 7-year-old who battled leukemia for most of his life. Parker Andres’ father, Gregory Andres, said one of the hardest parts was having to tell his son ‘no’ to things he wanted to do.
“Parker has had a lot of 1 and 2-out-of-10 days,” Gregory Andres said. “He used to sleep next to the toilet because he was tired of throwing up on his bed. THON gives him a nine or 10 day. It’s a day full of ‘yes.’”
Parker Andres said his favorite superhero is Batman, and if he could have any superpower, it would be super strength.
“I basically like to draw, play with my Legos, and I like to come here to joust,” Parker Andres said. “I like to play tag too.”
Todd and Carrie Schelling are parents of Kate Schelling, 11, and David Schelling, 13, who have both received treatment from a hospital that benefits from THON.
“When my daughter was in a dark place, we were very lonely, and I remember getting a random card from somebody,” Todd Schelling said. “I realized it had come from an individual who worked with THON … it really lifted me up. It’s hard to express how much the thought of them helped me in the hospital.”
Kristy Tijerina, a corporate communications senior and director of events for THON, said working with THON was one of the most fulfilling experiences of her life.
“A lot of the time, we get so caught up in our own lives, we take our health for granted,” Tijerina said. “There are kids who aren’t as fortunate and getting recognition for them is so important, it humbled me completely.”
The Schellings said they are thankful for each person who has been a part of THON because they have helped brighten some of their most awful days.
“Remember that you’re not alone,” Todd Schelling said. “There are people out there who … believe in you that you don’t even know.”