A Recap of Knight-Thon 2018: What It Really Means to Be FTK

Over this past weekend, I participated in Knight-Thon for the second time in my undergraduate career. As many UCF students know, Knight-Thon is a 20-hour dance marathon which benefits our local Children’s Miracle Network hospitals, Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children and Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies. There were about 1500 knights who participated in the event this year; each one of them was able to fundraise at least $300 for the cause over the course of the past year, and each one of them stood for 20 hours during the event in representation of the struggles that those children in the hospital face every single day. We all see the hashtag “FTK” (which stands for “For the Kids,” in case you were wondering) pretty much every time we log onto any social media, but to be FTK is so much more than a hashtag on Instagram. To me, Knight-Thon is more than a dance marathon; it is a beacon of light in all of the darkness that we see in our world every day. 

Over the past year, my heart has been broken more than a couple times hearing about all of the tragedies in the world. I had become so cynical and lost so much faith in humanity as a whole, I forgot about all of the good that there is in the world. Thankfully, Knight-Thon reminded me. For 20 hours, I only saw the best in humanity. I saw so many lovely miracle children and their families who have benefited from our cause, and I heard their stories, and I recognized that these wonderful children are our future. I saw 1500 of my peers standing for the kids who are fighting for their lives in the hospital, and standing for those who have lost their battle. I saw 1500 of my peers work so hard and come together as one to raise $1,584,698.22 for such an amazing cause. I saw a leadership team that selflessly spent hours upon hours putting together this awe-inspiring event. To be “for the kids” is to recognize these kids’ struggles and to come together as a community in an attempt to alleviate these struggles. 

One quote from Arnold Palmer that really stands out to me is “we can do better than this — we should do better than this — for the children of our community.” As a college student, I am constantly overwhelmed and under so much pressure that there are many times when I feel like giving up. Knight-Thon inspires me to keep going so that as a future physician and researcher, I can do better for the next generation. I need to keep fighting, and I need to do better, because there are so many kids who are fighting battles that I cannot even begin to imagine. To be “for the kids” is to keep fighting to give the next generation better than what our generation currently has.

For all of you who are reading this, I hope that you will consider becoming involved in a philanthropy, if you are not already. It doesn’t have to be Knight-Thon, it doesn’t have to be Children’s Miracle Network, but I hope that you find a cause that you are passionate about because it is truly an amazing feeling to be a part of something so much bigger than yourself. One person cannot change the world on their own, but they can certainly make a difference, and every single one of the UCF students who stood this past weekend made a difference. Everyone who donated made a difference. Every sponsor made a difference. We are proof that when we are united, we can move mountains. That is what it really means to be “for the kids.”


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