If you don't know what THON is then I'm sure the title of this blog caught your eye! THON stands for Penn State Dance Marathon which is the largest student run philanthropy in the world. It happens once a year and this weekend thousands of students, families, and children fighting cancer will gather together to raise money for the Four Diamonds Fund.
This is no small event. It takes months and months of planning and fundraising with countless college students spending their weekends freezing and holding cans across the greater northeast to collect money for cancer research.
Since the first dance marathon was held at Penn State 37 years ago 52 MILLION dollars has been raised to fight pediatric cancer and more than 6 MILLION last year alone!
I think the reason why THON has been so successful is because you see what you're fighting against firsthand. During the 2 day dance marathon the families and children who are in the middle of a battle with cancer are center stage. Many of the families share their stories and the kids play with the students and dancers present for the event, if they are able to. Many times children in remission come back to THON to share their success stories, and sadly, many times families share the memories of a child lost to cancer.
Those stories are what fuels this gigantic fundraising effort.
Those stories are why 700 dancers will stand on their feet for two days this weekend and not sleep. Those stories are why more than 15 thousand more students will go to the event and support those dancers and the cause they standing up for. At the end of the weekend event when you're sleep deprived those stories remind you what a year's worth of efforts are going towards. I was proud to play a part in THON when I was at Penn State, and even prouder that my younger sister is helping to make the even run smoothly now. I hope you manage to get SOME sleep this weekend Nicole!
If you would like to learn more about THON, watch some of this weekends dance marathon live, or hear some of the stories of a Four Diamonds Family that benefits from the fundraiser's efforts check out www.thon.org.
For The Kids!