Dancing for a Cause: Ambler Campus Students Head to HootaThon

2015 will be the first time Ambler Campus will have a team of participants giving their all to support patients and their families at CHOP

Why do people dance?

Some dance for the sheer joy of it. Some for exercise. Some simply because it’s been a good day.

Temple Owls dance for the best possible reason — to help children.

More than 1,000 students and alumni are expected to participate in HootaThon this year. While this will not be the first year Temple University Ambler students have taken part, 2015 will be the first time Ambler Campus will have a team of participants giving their all to support patients and their families at CHOP (Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia).

“I had heard about HootaThon last year when I started at Temple. I spoke to some people who had participated and knew I wanted to be a part of it because it is such an important cause,” said Ambler Campus Student Government President Hannah Donahue, a sophomore psychology major. “Working with organizations on campus, such as Owlreach, Student Government and Program Board, we wanted to provide students from campus an opportunity to fundraise and participate in the event together.”

HootaThon, a 12-hour Miracle Network dance marathon held at Main Campus, will begin at 12 p.m. Saturday, November 7, and end at 12 a.m. Sunday, November 8. Proceeds benefit patients and families at CHOP — the fundraising goal for HootaThon this year is $215,000.

According to Donahue, the Ambler Dance Team is comprised of a group of current students and alumni. In addition to Donahue, the team includes, Ambler Campus Program Board President Ariel Schofield, Johanna Riley, Upasana Raja, Assunta Forgione, Lee Schofield, Jessica Reed and Leah Brecker.

The team goal, said Donahue, is to raise at least $800. Students, faculty and staff interested in supporting the team, may visit their team page online.

“This has already been a rewarding experience putting together the team — it’s a group that’s very excited to be supporting the children at CHOP. Some of the patients have been in the hospital off and on since they were born,” she said. “I think students truly don’t realize how fortunate they are until they interact with others who are dealing with life-altering situations. It opens your eyes and makes a huge impact. If we have the ability to do so, everyone really should do whatever they can to help others in need.”

Assunta Forgione, a 2015 Temple graduate, is a HootaThon veteran.

“HootaThon is really close to my heart. I was air-lifted to CHOP in a diabetic coma at age 13,” she said. “They told my parents I probably wasn’t going to wake up again. But CHOP refused to give up on me and I surprised everyone by waking up the very next day.”

Forgione said she is “forever grateful” for the doctors, nurses and staff at CHOP “and what they do every single day.”

“The first time I was at CHOP was 10 years ago and I still go back for treatments today,” she said. “They’ve been so helpful and supportive the entire time.”

The atmosphere of HootaThon from beginning to end is powerful, said Forgione.

“We all know that we will be on our feet for 12 hours, but we also know that we are all fortunate enough to be able to stand and dance for that long,” she said. “HootaThon is all about the hope that lives at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and making a difference in the lives of these children.”

Forgione, who was extremely active as a student at Temple and remains closely connected to her alma mater as an alumnus, said her experiences at HootaThon are like no other.

“To see the kids, treatments, staff, breakthroughs and, most importantly, the hope at CHOP is amazing. It’s an opportunity to give thanks and be grateful for your health,” she said. “Everyone should do it. It’s the best experience I’ve had at Temple and it’s a chance to be part of something bigger than yourself; to make a connection with the university community.”

For additional information about becoming part of Ambler’s HootaThon team, contact Hannah Donahue at tuf67517@temple.edu or support the Ambler team online. For additional information about HootaThon, visit HootaThon.org.