Rockython prepares for a successful year

Marc Ramirez, News editor

Western Illinois University Dance Marathon made a recent switch and rebranded the organization as RockyTHON. This change was made public on Nov. 7 at the organization’s Pancake Dinner event. However, it was made known that although there is a new name, the organization still holds the same mission.

The decision was long in the making according to RockyTHON President Julianna Kessler. The organization has grown from what it started as in 2014. They have added hundreds of dancers, fundraised thousands of more dollars and made so many more miracles happen.

The Leadership team spoke about the stigma behind Dance Marathon and the implications that you need to be a good dancer to be successful or have fun at the event. This is, in fact, the opposite of what RockyTHON stands for. The group is comprised of students, staff and alumni to fundraise money for children living in or being treated at Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, more specifically SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital and St. Louis Children’s Hospital.

RockyTHON will kick off at noon on Saturday, March 28, 2020, in the University Union Grand Ballroom, but until then, RockyTHON has been working hard to put together an amazing event and has held many events in efforts to reach their goal of $175,000. They have organized and overseen Color Runs, Pancake Dinners, Spaghetti Dinners and Mini Dance Marathons, now MiniTHON’s.

With rebranding comes new merchandise for the organization. RockyTHON currently has two new apparel items on sale. They are selling white long sleeve “Western Illinois University ROCKATHON” shirts as well as a preorder for Carolina Blue hoodies.

At the main event, the University Grand Ballroom is full of activities for participants and families to enjoy. The Morale Team, a committee of dancers who learn and teach the dance to all in attendance perform, entertainment and activities are provided, miracle families tell their stories and so much more. Live and silent auctions will be held, exclusive merchandise will be for sale and the final goal reveal is held.

“People are highly encouraged to sign up and participate on the Morale Team,” Tate Dowell, Director of Morale said. “Morale isn’t only an amazing way to build an instant connection with the cause, but it gives you the opportunity to make sure people enjoy themselves at the event. Morale serves as the ‘hype-men’ of the event, constantly dancing and engaging the crowd.”

If people are interested in joining the Morale Team, they are encouraged to email Dowell at

To date, RockyTHON has raised over $500,000 for Dance Marathon and the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. The organization continues to strive to reach higher goals and constantly give back to those in need of help and support from those around them.

If you are interested in being a part of this generation fighting for the next, you can sign up at