Brentaro Yamane | Layout/Multimedia Editor
Sept. 15, 2022
Duqathon started its fourth-straight year of festivities on Tuesday outside of the Laval House, when they kicked off the school year with their “Ignite Your Flame” event. They gave out free s’mores and made cards for kids at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.
Last year, the program raised $66,241.82. Every single year, the committee tries to exceed their total.
This year, there is a new executive director fourth-year speech language pathology student Molly Keller. She has been a part of the program since her freshman year when she worked as a miracle maker, and has worked her way up in the executive board.
Keller has had experience in raising money for awareness before entering college by helping run Mini- Thon at her high school. However, one of the biggest reasons she is so invested and dedicated to the program is because of an unfortunate event that had an impact on her life.
“The reason that I am so connected to this program was because this past Christmas, I lost a friend from high school, and she had brain cancer,” Keller said. “So, she’s supposed to be my age. She’s supposed to be graduating from college this year, and she’s not. So that’s just kind of my cause connection and why I stuck through this program my whole four years here.”
Freshman Kacie Garofalo signed up for the program on Tuesday, and is looking forward to starting her Duquesne experience by joining a well-known organization that gives back to others in need.
“I saw a flier in the elevator, and it was talking about participating in volunteering for kids and for the Children’s Hospital. So, I thought it’d be a good way to get involved in the community and just help kids out,” Garofalo said. “My one friend from home actually has cancer, so we did a lot of volunteering and fundraising for her, gave money for treatment. It kind of hits close to home a little bit. So now it’s just kind of like something that I want to do.”
Every single day, social media and marketing tactics continue to expand, which helps to raise awareness. Morgan Emery is a junior and is the marketing coordinator for Duqathon. She has been working hard to make sure people help the children out. Emery also participated in Mini-Thon at her high school. She has helped make t-shirts, sweatshirts and other types of merchandise to help raise money, as she is excited to see the program grow at Duquesne.
“Duqathon has absolutely grown,” Emery said. “With the event that we had tonight, and having all of this turnout, even on our first meeting of the semester, we had probably about 75 freshmen there and we just keep hearing about it on campus from various grade levels.
“It’s just a surreal feeling to know that this many people are interested in making a difference in a bunch of children’s lives.”
Emery and Keller are excited to see what the new school year holds for Duqathon, as they are thinking every day about new events to coordinate in order to achieve their goal of raising as much money as they can for the children.
“We want to continue to raise more money every year to go to UPMC Children’s Hospital. That’s the biggest goal that there really is,” Emery said. “And we all know what it does for all the poor children who are in the hospital, day in and day out, suffering with chronic illnesses. It’s just heartbreaking to think about. But knowing where this money is going and why we’re dancing for a day, pretty much is the best.
“When it comes to helping the children, it means a lot more than I can put into words,” Keller said. “Being able to see their smiles at the main event, and just seeing them acting like kids and having fun, that’s really what it’s all about.”