Orlando Magicâ€™s J.J. Redick Donates $25,000 to UCF Knight-Thon
When Orlando Magic guard J.J. RedickÂ announced in December that he was launching a social media contest to find a local charity to donate $25,000 to, University of Central Florida students sprang into action.
The students are involved with Knight-Thon, a Dance Marathon that asks participants to stand for 18 hours to “dance for the kids who can’t” and to raise funds for the Children’s Miracle Network. No strangers to a challenge, those involved with the university’s largest student-run philanthropy rallied together to gain the support of the UCF community — and the attention of Redick.
â€śWe reached out to UCF students, faculty and staff members, asking for their help,â€ť said Michael Davis, Knight-Thon executive student director. â€śWe also received help from Dance Marathon programs across the nation and community supporters of the Greater Orlando Childrenâ€™s Miracle Network. After that, the only thing we could do was tweet to J.J. Redick about why Knight-Thon was the most deserving group for the donation.â€ť
For the next week, Knight-Thon supporters sent tweets and videos to Redick, sharing their own stories about Knight-Thon and the Childrenâ€™s Miracle Network. Katie Waser, Knight-Thonâ€™s Family and Childrenâ€™s Miracle Network Relations director, made several submissions of her own.
â€śAfter tweeting countless miracle stories and Knight-Thon facts to J.J. and receiving responses, I finally decided to make a video to really share with him what Knight-Thon means to me,â€ť said Waser, a junior who hopes to become a child life specialist and work in a hospital after graduation.
â€śI talked about our wonderful miracle children and how Knight-Thon has truly changed my life. College is usually a selfish time where we think about our degrees, our money and just getting by,” Waser said. “When Knight-Thon is a part of the picture, college is a very selfless time.â€ť
On Christmas Day, Redick announced on Twitter that the winning charity was Loaves and Fishes of Apopka. Minutes later, he added that he and his wife, Chelsea, would also donate $25,000 to Knight-Thon and congratulated Waser for submitting the winning video.
â€śIt was quite a whirlwind of emotions,â€ť said Waser. â€śI was completely shocked. I cried tears of happiness and could not stop shaking because I just could not believe it.â€ť
Last year, Knight-Thon raised $118,000 for Childrenâ€™s Miracle Network. This year, the organizationâ€™s goal is to raise $170,000 by April 13.
â€śWe need the help of everyone in order to reach our goal,â€ť said Davis. â€śKnight-Thon couldnâ€™t raise funds without the generous support of students, faculty, staff and community partners. Weâ€™d like to thank everyone for their continued support.â€ť
Knight-Thon will begin Saturday, April 13 at 11:30 a.m. at The Venue at the UCF Arena. The dance marathon will run until 6 a.m. the next day. To learn more about Knight-Thon or to donate, visit http://www.knight-thon.com.