My name is Elyse Broder and I am a rising sophomore from Rochester, NY studying psychology, and this will be my second year on the Public Relations  Committee. My Terp Thon experience started in the fall of my freshman year (2018). A friend of mine from home had just graduated from UMD and told me that one of the first things I absolutely had to do was apply to be on Terp Thon Planning Team.  I took her advice and made sure to apply as soon as the application went out.

While I do not have a specific connection to Children’s National Hospital in Washington DC, I do have a very personal connection to a pediatric condition.  My twin brother and I were born 12 weeks premature. We spent seven weeks in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) at Albany Medical Center and were on ventilators for the first 48 hours of our lives.  We also required feeding tubes and were attached to monitors measuring our heart and respiratory rates. NICU nurses had to check our monitors almost every 15 minutes. This was a terrifying time for my parents; two kids, born at 28 weeks, with two new parents living in a new city all by themselves.  

During our time in the NICU, the neonatologists and neonatal nurses went above and beyond every single day caring for my brother and I, while also giving my parents hope that one day they could bring their newborns home.  My parents had a special relationship with one nurse in particular named Allison. She was incredibly protective of my brother and I and provided my parents with endless support. The NICU also allowed parents to call 24 hours a day to receive updates about their babies at any time.  I am incredibly lucky to have been taken such amazing care of by the NICU staff at Albany Medical Center. Without them, my brother and I might not have survived.

Terp Thon helps raise money for children with numerous illnesses and conditions, such as prematurity.  I owe it to my nurses and doctors to raise awareness, fundraise, and stand for 12 hours (the average shift of a nurse at Children’s National) to honor them and fight for the kids who need help just like I did.  Terp Thon has inspired me to make a difference and help children and families in need. After experiencing my first Dance Marathon in 2019, I was blown away by the strength, positivity, and hope that our Miracle Kids possessed.  I participate in Terp Thon for them, and plan to be a part of Terp Thon Planning Team throughout the rest of my time at UMD. I cannot wait to continue making a difference For The Kids!