On February 17th, Penn State was given over 100 million reasons to smile. On this day, the 46 hour dance marathon came to its conclusion and the total for 2013 was announced! $12,374,034.46 was raised by Penn State students, alumni, family and friends, putting the total that the Penn State Dance Marathon has raised for the Four Diamonds Fund since its creation to over $100,000,000.00.
Inspire Tomorrow’s Miracles was the theme for this year’s Dance Marathon and all year students worked tirelessly to “Inspire Tomorrow’s Miracles” and conquer pediatric cancer–including students from our Penn State Abington/ Ognotz campus. Penn State Abington benefitting THON raised an outstanding total of $34,010.22 this year bringing Abington’s total from the last 10 years to over $200,000.00!
Rebecca Walters, a 2012 Penn State Abington grad says, “I’m so incredibly proud to be a part of such an amazing organization and school. Experiencing this now as alumni is different but the feeling I get when I hear families talk about their child being here today because of THON and Penn State is never going to change. It’s just unbelievable to be a part of.”
Each year THON continues to grow bigger and bigger making a difference in so many lives and each year alumni from all over the United States, such as California, Texas, and Georgia, to name a few, travel to State College, Pennsylvania because they can’t imagine not being a part of this weekend.
Previous THON chair, dancer and 2011 Penn State Abington graduate, Melissa Hackett, says, “Over the last four year I have been fortunate enough to watch over forty million dollars be raised and donated to the Four Diamonds Fund. While it can be tough to stay connected as an alumni being at THON always reminds me of why the organization is so important. The growth of THON over the years is so inspiring and it really gives me hope that one day we will be dancing in celebration of a cure.”
The energy in the BJC was one that cannot be matched as the final four hours approached. With the building being at capacity by 4am, Sunday morning, and a line out the door of the BJC reaching as far back as Beaver Stadium, you would never have been able to tell that the people in the crowd were standing to support the dancers and families for over 12 hours! 2011 graduate Blane Barton said, “Just seeing the line outside of the BJC shows that each and every year THON gets more and more students involved in the fight against pediatric cancer.” Jackie Repice also added, “In my mind, I HAVE to go to THON. It is the most altruistic weekend that people will ever experience. You can explain THON to all your friends and family until your face turns blue but until they’re standing in the stands with you, feeling the electricity of the crowd, will they then understand what THON is. THON is more than the biggest student run philanthropy in the world; THON is a movement. It was heartbreaking when I realized at 4:30 in the morning Sunday that I might not make it in for Family Hour. Thinking into it a bit more, I realized that it’s a fever that has swept Penn State. If that’s what it takes to raise over twelve million dollars for the kids, then I cannot be anything but happy.”
Nobody is quite sure how big THON will get but one thing is for sure, it won’t stop until there is a cure for pediatric cancer!