Today’s a bonus foodless post, for something dear to my heart. I woke up this morning to a fabulous Facebook post from a friend.
The Penn State Dance Marathon, THON as it is known, raised over $9.5 million this year, bringing the overall total to $69 million, since THON began in 1977! As a Penn State alum, participant and contributor to THON, this news was so exciting to hear. THON is a 2 day, no sitting, no sleeping dance marathon that left me in awe the first time I saw it taking place. Some of my best memories at Penn State are canning for donations throughout PA, learning a new line dance every year, and spending time with the families that get the support from THON.
THON is the world’s largest student-run philanthropy, its mission to raise money to find a cure for childhood cancer. A little history from the THON website…
In 1977, THON partnered with The Four Diamonds Fund at Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital, and designated The Fund as the sole beneficiary of THON’s fundraising efforts. The Four Diamonds Fund was established by Charles and Irma Millard, after the death of their son, Christopher. The Fund is named after a story that Chris wrote shortly before he lost his battle with cancer at the age of 14. In Chris’ story, a knight must find the four diamonds of Courage, Wisdom, Honesty and Strength in order to be released from captivity by an evil sorceress. The four diamonds are symbolic of the traits Chris believed were necessary to overcome cancer. The Fund offsets the cost of treatment that insurance does not cover, as well as expenses that may disrupt the welfare of the child. The Fund supports the medical team that cares for the children and funds pediatric cancer research through start-up grants and the Four Diamonds Pediatric Cancer Research Institute.
From personal experience, the knowledge of having a parent go through cancer is difficult enough. Having to watch children battle it, can be incomprehensible, no matter how old, or smart you are. But the smiles and joy that the kids show when spending the weekend with their college-aged friends is so special.
It’s been a few years since I spent a THON weekend at Penn State, but the memories are always with me. Thanks for letting me share this with you. If you want to know more about THON, please visit www.thon.org. Congratulations to all the dancers and contributors! Have a wonderful day!