COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS — Throughout the year, a student organization at Texas A&M raises funds and awareness for life saving equipment and research for McLane Children's Medical Center in Temple, Texas.
Since 2014, Aggie Miracle has raised over $850,000 for McLane Children's Medical Center.
Saturday evening at Wold Pen Creek Amphitheater in College Station, the organization hosted their big event, AggieTHON, celebrating a year-long fund-raising effort.
Normally, the event is a 12-hour long dance marathon to help raise funds and awareness for the children at McLane Children's Medical Center. This year, the event saw many changes to continue to carry on safely.
"For one, we changed the name this year to be more inclusive, because it's not just an dance marathon, it's so much more. AggieTHON this year...we've never had an outdoor event, we've never watched a movie, it's normally a 12 hour dance marathon, but to mitigate for COVID, it's now a 4 hour event," Allan Pulliam said.
Allan Pulliam says it's all for the kids and they're doing whatever is needed to make the event successful.
"We knew that we wanted to provide not only the families, but especially the kids a safe and exceptional experience. That is why we worked so hard to secure this venue and have mitigation in place to keep everyone safe. We are sticking to those tonight and we are grateful we are able to celebrate them in this capacity," Allan Pulliam, Executive Director of Aggie Miracle said.
One young man eager for the dancing aspect of AggieTHON was Aydin Davis, but moving and grooving isn't all fun and games, he's also passionate about McLane's.
"I am here to raise money for McLane Children's Hospital...because it is where I go when I am sick and everything," Aydin Davis said.
Although he's not quite 12 years old yet, Aydin has had almost 4x as many surgeries, and calls the Children's hospital in Temple a second home.
Aydin says outside of dancing, going on stage may be his favorite part from the event.
The Davis family drove 2 hours from Clifton to College Station to help support their home away from home.
"We were one of the first families treated at McLane's when they opened up. My husband is prior military. When we came home in 2011, McLane's opened their doors to the new children's hospital there and Aydin was one of the first patients treated there."
Davis says when they walk through the center's doors, everyone knows Aydin. Davis shared why fundraising is so critical, hoping that others can have the same accessible care.
"This is an opportunity for my child to have life and an opportunity for other kids to have life. Where my child was born with a condition, there are some that are acute as well. Me being able to travel an hour there to be able to get care...That's the same thing for families that need it," Aydin's mother Regina Davis added.
Aggiethon 2021 is part of a nationwide movement. Davis says healthcare doesn't stop with a pandemic and the funds are still well-needed.
Regina, Aydin's mother, says her son was born with an extremely rare chromosomal disorder called 'cats-eye' on chromosome 22. She says 1 in 175,000 people have the condition.
Regina also says Aydin is the only one at Mclane Children's Medical Center that currently has this condition.
Aggie Miracle and AggieTHON participants raised $87,575.59 for McLane Children's Medical Center. The total is what they have raised since their last event in 2020.