February 4, 2013

Penn State THON

Penn State University claims the honor of holding the largest student-run fundraising effort in the world. The IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon, which has come to be known as THON, raises money for pediatric cancer. So far they have raised a total of over 89 million dollars!

This year, THON 2013 will take place February 15-17. However, the actual dance marathon is just the finale of a year-long endeavor to gather donations and increase awareness. Some of the events associated with THON include a Family Carnival, football & basketball games, Canning Drives, a 5K Run/Walk and Harvest Day. Great attention and compassion is given to patients and their families.

Photos below are from past THON weekends. We can see the enormity of the event, now held each year in Penn State's Bryce Jordan Center. About 200 dancers participate in this 46 hour marathon.


Since 1977, the sole recipient of THON's proceeds has been The Four Diamonds Fund of Penn State's Hershey Children's Hospital. Donations are used to supplement patient treatment costs that aren't covered by insurance. Also, with the ultimate hope of conquering childhood cancer, start-up grants are funded for research.

Charles & Irma Millard began The Four Diamond Fund after their 14 year old son Christopher passed away from cancer. The foundation's name came courtesy of Chris and a story he had written. It was about a knight who needed the diamonds of courage, wisdom, honesty and strength to fight his battles, also symbolic of what Chris believed was necessary to battle cancer.

Students raise their hands in the shape of a diamond in salute to the Four Diamonds Fund.


Each year, the culmination of the dance weekend is when
poster cards are flipped to reveal the total dollars raised. 
At the 2012 THON, the grand total was well over $10 million!


"For the Kids" or "FTK" is the slogan of the THON.

This video from YouTube is a documentary called "Why We Dance".
 It shows the commitment of the students as well as the appreciation of the families.
An hour long, but worth the watch, and sure to tug at your heartstrings. 

As a Penn State alumnus, I have to say how proud I am of these students.

 For more information, and to learn how you can help, visit
Penn State's THON website
and The Four Diamonds Fund website.

Woo Hoo! 2-17-13
This just in:  The THON 2013 total is $12,374,034.46!

Unless stated otherwise, photos courtesy of and used with permission from thon.org. 

1 comment:

  1. Great Blog! I always roll down the window and contribute to this great cause (often multiple times the same day). Gratitude to all that participate.


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