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Thursday, February 6, 2020

Highlands Grad Plans Dance-a-Thon for University of Louisville's "RaiseRED" Fundraiser

Highlands grad organizes UofL dance marathon for Pediatric Oncology and Hematology research. (2019)

By Jessie Eden

A Highlands High School grad and a Covington Catholic grad from Park Hills are leading a special fundraiser at the University of Louisville...and it involves a lot of dancing!

The RaiseRED organization is the University of Louisville's largest student-run philanthropic organization. The money raised by this organization benefits UofL's Department of Pediatric Oncology and Hematology.

On Feb. 21 and 22, RaiseRED will kick off its annual fundraiser -- an 18-hour dance marathon! The nationally recognized event celebrates the children and families the organization supports. RaiseRED also includes over 1,000 students who are involved every year.

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Programming Director Nico Thom of Fort Thomas and Sam Romes of Park Hills are planning the event this year. "Highlands graduates have been on the executive board, committee and have been dancers since the beginning of raiseRED," said Nico. "I’ve been a part of this awesome organization since I was a freshman, when I was a dancer & a first time participant. As a sophomore I was a team leader for the event where I helped a team of 50 awesome individuals register, fundraise, and have the best time possible at the marathon. This year, I’m on executive and my job is to plan all 18 hours of the marathon with Sam Romes." 

RaiseRED Top 4 leadership Team
(Left to Right: Ethan Sammons, of Covington Catholic, Nico Thom of Highlands High School, Mary Baker of Louisville and Sam Romes of Covington Catholic)

In the past five years, the organization has raised over $2.3 million for research and patient needs. The group also volunteers with the Cardinal Crew program, inviting patients and families to partner up with a college student for fun events, parties and mentorship.

Highlands Grad Nico Thom wears a bracelet for the RaiseRED event (FTK = "For The Kids")

"My favorite part of the event every year is interacting with the families to make sure they have the best time possible. RaiseRED has a program that matches current patients and survivors with a college aged mentor on leadership," said Nico. "That incredible program is called “Cardinal Crew” and we have events throughout the year leading up to the marathon - we have a rocket launch, a gingerbread house making competition and even a kid prom! My Cardinal Kid is Sophia and she is incredible. She’s a cheerleader and loves to get her nails done with me and make art. My favorite part of the marathon is making sure Sophia has an awesome time!" 

Organizers Nico Thom and Mary Baker with Sophia Smith (RaiseRED "Cardinal Kid").

All clinic patients, both currently experiencing disease and survivors, are invited to participate in events like Kid Prom, a rocket launching party, a gingerbread house building contest, and more. This year, Nico and Sam want to invite the NKY community to the Community Celebration on February 22nd from 10:15 a.m. to Noon at UofL's Student Activities Center.

To learn more about RaiseRED, visit the organization's website here.

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