Nazareth Academy donates money to CHOP

Dancing for a cause: Nazareth Academy High School raised $20,620.27 during a 10-hour dance marathon. The money will be earmarked for CHOP’s Thyroid Center. TOM WARING / TIMES PHOTO

Nazareth Academy High School on Monday morning donated $20,620.27 to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

The money was raised during Naz-A-Thon, a 10-hour dance marathon that featured three rotating disc jockeys.

“It’s amazing. Our original goal was only $5,000. We didn’t expect a lot, but we raised $20,000,” said senior Andreana Manto.

Manto and fellow senior Marissa Sylvester headed the committee that organized the dance event.

The girls started talking about the effort shortly after classes started last September. Manto’s older sister is involved with Temple’s fundraising HootaThon, and the university was looking to involve high schools.

After less than two months of planning, the Naz-A-Thon took place on Nov. 14 in the school gym. As many as 500 people attended — Nazareth students, parents and students from Holy Ghost Prep and other schools — helping the girls easily pass their goal.

“We were not expecting $20,000. We are so grateful to pass it on to the kids who need it,” Sylvester said.

The money will be earmarked for CHOP’s Thyroid Center.

Junior Jacki Dollard battled thyroid cancer when she was 13, and was treated at CHOP. She serves on the committee, and will head next year’s effort, hoping to match this year’s total.

“We put it together really fast, but we went way over our goal. There was a personal connection for the school,” she said. “The doctors and nurses at CHOP were great, and it’s really nice to give back to other kids and put a smile on kids’ faces.”

Money for the Naz-A-Thon was raised by a $15 registration fee, bake sales, online donations, raffle baskets and a “Coin Wars” battle among classrooms.

Lisa Rabbitt, an assistant director for the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Foundation, accepted the check during a school-wide assembly in the gym.

“It’s amazing. They set a goal of $5,000 and blew it just out of the water,” she said. “They put their heart and soul into it, and we’re very appreciative. We’re really excited about making it a tradition.” ••