COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Thousands of students are at Ohio Union inside The Ohio State University dancing to help fight cancer. The 24-hour dance-a-thon is called BuckeyeThon 2018. The event raises money for pediatric cancer patients at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. The annual BuckeyeThon is one of the largest student-run philanthropies in the state of Ohio and NBC 4’s Elyse Chengery was there as she shows us what this event means to so many, especially one strong 17-year-old.
Inside Ohio Union there were many posters with children’s faces. The kids depicted on the poster were diagnosed with pediatric cancer just like teenager Rylee Cavins, who says she was 8 years old when she found out she had cancer. She was at BuckeyeThon to talk about how important the event is.
“Being such a young kid it never hit me like how deadly the situation was,” she said. “I just became part of the group of BuckeyeThon and they’ve just helped me through everything that happened after chemotherapy, so I am here to support them. It goes to kids like me, kids in the hospital, anybody on the oncology floor at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.”
Rylee is currently 8 and a half years cancer free. She says she still has side effects that causes bone density to lower greatly which makes it difficult for her to walk. But that didn’t stop her from attending on Saturday and staying up more than 24 hours.
Students came out to support others like Rylee who have heard that 6 letter word but don’t have to go through it alone.
“The passion and the energy that is felt in this room is unlike anything else,” one said.
“We help raise money for kids that can’t be here, that can’t be dancing, they’re fighting cancer right now as we speak and it really means a lot to them and their families for us to show our support and to be here for them,” another student said.
“It’s amazing to see people take time out of their lives.” Rylee said. “These are all college students who are busy with their college work, they fundraise $250 dollars to be here. They’re trying to get good grades and doing this at the same time. It’s just truly amazing to see people willing to do that.”
Last year BuckeyeThon raised more than $1.5 million dollars – this year students are trying to raise at least $2 million dollars.