LoboTHON, UNM's largest student run philanthropy, is offering innovative ways for the community to help support the UNM Children’s Hospital, including Balloon Fiesta tickets and the possibility of winning a hot air balloon ride.

Every year, LoboTHON raises money and awareness for the UNM Children’s Hospital (UNMCH) and dedicates its efforts to the 66,000+ miracle children being treated yearly at UNMCH. The money goes to their treatment processes with the hope of giving every child the chance to be a Lobo. Over the past nine years at UNM, LoboTHON has raised more than $400,000 for UNMCH.

“UNM Children’s Hospital was hit hard by the pandemic, so they’re in recovery mode right now,” explained Gabby O’Keefe, the executive director of LoboTHON.

To help boost UNMCH’s recovery, LoboTHON is selling tickets to the 2021 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, themed “Time Flies!”

“Buying Balloon Fiesta tickets from us means that you not only get to see an amazing Albuquerque tradition, but you also get to support the only dedicated children’s hospital in the state and the treatment it provides to our state’s children,” O’Keefe explained.

The tickets are general admission, good for any day or session of the festival. They do not include park and ride but can be used in tandem with a park and ride “bus only” ticket. LoboTHON Balloon Fiesta ticket are the same price as regular tickets – $15 – but $3 of the proceeds goes to UNM Children’s Hospital.

Order tickets by filling out this online request form.

LoboTHON sold Balloon Fiesta tickets in 2018 and 2019, with great success. O’Keefe says ticket sales this year are going well, with only 190 more tickets to be sold before this Saturday’s opening Mass Ascension.


In addition to attending the Fiesta and supporting New Mexico children, Lobos and community members also can win a free hot air balloon ride for two. The ride will be raffled off at LoboTHON’s Carnival of Care, scheduled for Oct. 4, 2021, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on UNM’s Smith Plaza.

The local event is part of a national effort to celebrate Child Health Day. The Carnival of Care will have carnival games, a tie-dye station, build-a-bear station and raffles. The event is free, and all are welcome to attend.