A Brief History of HootaThon


“A bright orange mo-hawk. That is how HootaThon began.” In 2012, our founder, Gaelen McCartney, saw firsthand the impact Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals (CMNH) had on the lives of kids and their families. His older sister was a part of The Ohio State University’s BuckeyeThon and she had made a connection with a child whose first haircut post-chemotherapy treatment was a bright orange mo-hawk. From seeing the difference CMNH made on this child, and many others’ lives, he knew he wanted to bring that to Temple University. Within 6 weeks of him sharing this idea with other students and Temple, HootaThon was born.

In 2013, our first year dancing, HootaThon raised over $60,000 for the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), our local CMNH. At the time, it was the highest fundraising CMNH Dance Marathon on the east coast. In 2014, that number nearly doubled when HootaThon raised over $119,000, and in 2015 we set a goal for ourselves to raise $215,000 and ended up raising over $280,000.

This past year, in HootaThon’s fourth and largest year, we raised over $400,000 for the Child Life Department at CHOP. The funds we raise go to things like art and pet therapy, as well as education for the kids and their families. Child Life helps children at CHOP lead as normal of lives as possible while in the circumstances they’re in. These funds are incredibly important to Child Life, as the department is funded entirely by donations.

As HootaThon builds momentum, we hope to become Philadelphia’s Dance Marathon and help continue to make miracles happen at CHOP every day. Join the movement and become a part of the HootaThon family today!