UCF’s largest student-run philanthropy raised more than a quarter of a million dollars for the children of Children’s Miracle Network hospitals, which support children’s hospitals and medical research and community awareness of children’s health issues.

Nearly 800 students participated in this year’s dance marathon, which 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. Hundreds of students from more than 60 organizations raise funds for the event year-round, and the effort culminated Saturday with the dance marathon, which was held at the Venue and raised $258,554.17.

“We have worked so diligently to make Knight-Thon have a real presence on campus, and I think that this year, we finally made it,” said Valerie Greco, Knight-Thon’s fundraising chair.  “Our goal of $170,000 seemed like a stretch and at times, there were set-backs and people said that we couldn’t do it.”

Knight-Thon raised $118,000 for Children’s Miracle Network last year. This year, the philanthropy beat its goal thanks in part to a few large donations, including a $25,000 gift from former Orlando Magic guard J.J. Redick, who selected Knight-Thon as a winner of a social media contest to find a local charity to donate to.

“On Sunday morning, I think many of the members of the executive board expected that we would exceed our goal, but no one was prepared for the reveal of over a quarter of a million dollars,” Greco said. “UCF raised $258,554.17, and I cannot think of a better cause than the Greater Orlando Children’s Miracle Network! I am truly blessed to have been part of such an incredible event.”

To learn more about Knight-Thon or to donate, visit http://www.knight-thon.com.