In a week with two snow days and diminished opportunities to sell tickets, a team of student leaders at the Charter School of Wilmington (CSW) raised a staggering $82,000 for the Andrew McDonough B+ Foundation on Friday.
The fundraiser has grown considerably since 2013 – the dance marathon’s first year – which raised $11,000. “The total surpassed even my best hopes for the night,” said Charter Senior Domenica “Minnie” Proud.
The Andrew McDonough B+ Foundation honors Andrew, who passed away at age 14 after battling leukemia and sepsis. Inspired by the positive and enthusiastic way in which Andrew McDonough lived his life, his family established the B+ Foundation (also his blood type) to encourage and support other families in their battles against childhood cancer.
Over the past several months, Charterthon organizers spent time helping young cancer patients at Nemours/A.I. duPont Hospital for Children, even serving dinner to them many Thursday nights.
“Knowing those kids, knowing the impact that every dollar makes, and knowing their families and their stories means so much to us,” said Proud.
Fellow planner and CSW senior Madi Pack said the excitement for the marathon has been building for months. “Charterthon is our biggest B+ event – it’s actually not hard to get students here tonight,” she said.
In addition to the all-night dancing, Charterton included music and a sound system provided by two outstanding student DJs from Cab Calloway, a moon bounce, a 3 on 3 basketball tournament, a tug of war tournament, a knock out tournament, shows by three different bands from Cab Calloway, a performance by Charter’s Bollywood dance team, and a competitive round of Jeopardy sponsored by Charter’s Trivia Team.
Students embrace the opportunity of having fun while raising money for a foundation whose mission they support. “We all have different reasons why we Charterthon, but it’s just such a great opportunity for all of the students here to be part of a cause that’s so much bigger than ourselves and to be helping the kids,” said Proud.
The B+ Foundation has special meaning to Cab Calloway librarian Debbie Supplee, whose family received support from the Foundation when their daughter battled cancer as a child. So, this year the Cab Calloway community joined forces with Charter students to help with the fundraiser. Supplee created fundraising teams for each grade and garnered the support of teachers and staff.
With Cab’s involvement, the student planners set the bar a bit higher than last year, which generated $53,000 for the B+ Foundation. Planning is a year-round undertaking. They opened their fundraising page in November, executing several small “motivational” fundraisers throughout the year (car wash, restaurant profit-share nights), and leveraged social media more creatively this year. “Our weekend Instagram competitions and Venmo request posts were really successful this year,” said Proud.
The corporate sponsorship team also worked hard to gather incentives that they used for mini competitions throughout the campaign. As a final fundraising push for the month of March, each student who raised $200 earned a raffle ticket towards prizes like a free yearbook, a free ticket to prom or a ticket to the Firefly Music Festival.
Detailed execution is the mark of any successful event, and students at Wilmington Charter — the first high school in the country to host a dance marathon for the B+ Foundation – nailed it this year.
“Charter’s Jefferson Council sets out every year to grow relationships within our school community by creating shared opportunities for service,” said Proud. “In my four years here, Charterthon has emerged as an invaluable way for us – students, faculty, families, musicians, clubs, photographers, writers – to work together to make a positive impact.”
Andrew McDonough’s father Joe McDonough couldn’t have been happier. “I am so impressed and proud and appreciative of the students here at the Charter School of Wilmington and now Cab Calloway as well” said McDonough when he stopped by to check in on the fun and thank the students. “To see the way it has grown, and all of the tremendous enthusiasm – it’s really such a nice tradition.”