Penn State Hazleton students were among those who raised more than $13 million to help children fight their battle against cancer during this year's THON, held at the Bryce Jordan Center at the University Park campus from Feb. 20 to 22.
The 46-hour Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon raises money for pediatric cancer treatment and research through the Four Diamonds Fund at Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital. This year's event, with the theme "Empower the Dreamers," raised $13,026,653.23. Since its inception 43 years ago, THON has raised more than $127 million for the cause.
Penn State Hazleton students Sabrina Krupko and Ayla Triano represented their campus at THON 2015, joining more than 700 other dancers from more than 600 student organizations. The dancers have the opportunity to spend time with children who receive treatment at the Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital, along with their parents and siblings, on the floor of the Bryce Jordan Center at the University Park campus. Penn State Hazleton sends dancers to THON every year.
Triano said that when she was deciding what college to attend, she and her family saw THON on TV and she was amazed. "I decided I wanted to go to a college where I could be a part of something so much bigger than myself," she said.
The Penn State Hazleton THON Committee spends months fundraising, including "canning," when students stand outside stores collecting money in cans despite weather conditions, and a variety of other fundraisers. During a blood drive through the American Red Cross, a $4 donation was made to the Four Diamonds Fund for each presenting donor.
The efforts of Penn State Hazleton students and students at other campuses culminate each February during the dance marathon, when dancers don't sleep - or even sit - for 46 hours straight.
The dance marathon got its beginnings in 1973, when 34 dancers raised $2,000. Since then, participation in THON and funds raised have grown dramatically. THON is the largest student-run philanthropy in the world, and 96 percent of all funds raised go directly to the Four Diamonds Fund. Four Diamonds picks up where insurance leaves off, enabling families to solely focus on care for their child. Assistance from Four Diamonds ensures counselors, social workers, music therapists and other specialists are available to provide comprehensive care in a family-focused atmosphere. Thanks to THON, Four Diamonds and the Penn State Hershey Medical Center recruits world-class talent to continue innovative research benefiting children worldwide.
Penn State Hazleton students were interviewed about their participation in THON here: