Penn State’s THON, the 46-hour, no-sitting or sleeping, dance marathon was held this weekend at the Bryce Jordan Center and raised over $9.5 million dollars for kids with cancer. 2011 marks THON’s biggest total ever, topping last years $7.8 million, securing its place as the world’s largest student run philanthropy organization.
The Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon started in 1973 with just 39 dancers and raised $2,000. Since then, THON has raised over $75 million for the Four Diamonds Fund. The money students raise for THON goes straight to the families and their medical expenses, such as paying for gas for trips to the hospital and hotel stays.
THON is not just a one weekend thing at Penn State; students dedicate their time and energy all year-round to THON events, fundraising, and family relations. Organizations, committees, and overalls dedicate their weekends to canning on street corners and pledging door-to-door, collecting money for the kids beginning in October. With over 15,000 student volunteers, it would be hard to find someone in Happy Valley who didn’t know about or who wasn’t involved in THON.
Gaining national recognition and raising over $7 million last year, THON is something that Penn Staters take pride in and think about when they say the famous “We Are” chant. A community has been formed and all of Penn State unites to fight against cancer and stand up for the kids.
The whole thing, from clean-up, to fundraising, to food for the dancers , is orchestrated by the students who have been working all year to make that year’s THON the best it can be. And with the grand total this year being $9,563,016.09, it’s safe to say 2011 was the best year yet.