An Ohio State annual fundraiser collected $1,606,087.99 this year for pediatric cancer research.

The final figure was revealed at the conclusion of the 24-hour dance marathon BuckeyeThon that took place this weekend in the Ohio Union. BuckeyeThon is a year-long, student-powered fundraiser, and all proceeds go to Nationwide Children’s Hospital in downtown Columbus, BuckeyeThon president Nina Ryan said. 

“We must make it so that there is a world where cancer does not exist,” Ryan, a third-year in public policy, said to those in attendance at the dance marathon on Saturday. “We are $1.6 million closer to that.”

The dance marathon involves two 12-hour periods of constant dancing, games and activities. Carly Cullion, a third-year in health science, said the dance marathon promotes a positive environment for students and families.

“I think we’re all here for a bigger reason,” Cullion said. “Everyone realizes that, and everyone has a lot of energy.”

With families of pediatric cancer patients and survivors in mind, the money raised by BuckeyeThon goes toward life-saving research conducted at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. 

 BuckeyeThon raised over $1.6 million for pediatric cancer research in 2020. Credit: Andre White | Lantern Reporter

“They’ve given my son a second chance at life. I am forever indebted to Nationwide Children’s Hospital,” Dana Norrod said. Her son, Corbin, was diagnosed with stage three neuroblastoma at six months old. Corbin is now a cancer survivor. 

In 2019, BuckeyeThon raised $1,704,184.19. Despite the money raised by BuckeyeThon and other philanthropies, Norrod said pediatric cancer research is severely underfunded.

“For Corbin and what his cancer was, there hasn’t been any new treatments for the past 30 years,” Norrod said. “Kids who have neuroblastoma are getting the same treatments as they were 30 years ago.”

Derek Litts, the dance marathon manager for  Children’s Miracle Network, which supports local fundraising for more than 170 hospitals across North America, said he believes BuckeyeThon’s impact extends beyond the city of Columbus.

“BuckeyeThon, and what they’re doing —the money they’re raising funds for — has, truly, a global impact,” Litts said. 

Maddie Thew, third-year in biomedical engineering and BuckeyeThon participant, said it is important for all students to get involved in BuckeyeThon. 

“I think that it’s a great thing to be a part of,” Thew said. “It’s definitely something that you have to do before you graduate from Ohio State.”