Mt. Pleasant woman aids THON in topping $12M
A yearlong effort by more than 15,000 Penn State University students to raise approximately $12.3 million to help fight all forms of pediatric cancer ended last week.
Again helping with that important event was Mt. Pleasant's Amanda Meshanski.
The Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon, also known as THON, is a campaign to raise awareness and money for the Four Diamonds Fund at Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital.
During the past 36 years, students have raised more than $89 million for the organization. The event is the largest student-run philanthropy in the world, according to the event's website, thon.com.
This is the third year Meshanski, 20, a junior majoring in industrial engineering at the university's main campus in State College, has participated in the fundraising effort.
Two years ago, she was a member of the rules and regulations committee.
Last year, Meshanski was one of 700 dancers who were on their feet for the 48-hour event.
This year, she served as captain for the event's supply logistics committee, which maintains all in-kind donations except for food and monetary donations, and ensures committees and events have proper supplies donated and distributed throughout the year.
As the intra-committee inventory liaison, Meshanski organized multiple storage units and made sure all supplies were accounted for and accessible for smooth distribution.
She also helped other committees wherever she was needed.
“This year was nice due to the additional responsibilities that allowed me to individually make a difference during THON weekend while working with my co-captains to ensure things ran smoothly,” she said.
The year-long effort begins shortly after THON weekend each year.
Meshanski said she gives of her time for the kids.
“I enjoy being able to provide a weekend for the kids where they can step away from being cancer patients, as well as providing an opportunity for their families to temporarily ignore the stress that coincides with their child's battle with cancer,” she said. “Outside of THON weekend, I love the opportunity to provide families with support on a year-round basis, as their fights with cancer don't take a break.”
Each year, Meshanski said she takes away special memories from the event.
This year, she was able to speak with Four Diamonds Fund founder Charles Millard, who lost his son, Chris, to cancer in 1972.
“Mr. Millard is a complete inspiration to us student volunteers, as he was so selfless to use his loss to better the lives of thousands of future families and children fighting cancer,” she said. “It was inspiring to be able to enjoy this time with him and share in the great event that he helped create.”
Debbie and Joe Meshanski are proud of their daughter's efforts.
“I think it is just amazing that she is so dedicated and it's just so important for them to do what they can for these kids,” Debbie Meshanski said.
The Meshanskis said they support their daughter by attending the event each year and have been given a tour of the center and the inner workings of the event.
“It is just so uplifting for everyone who attends — from the students, to the parents to the faculty. By 9 a.m. Sunday, you cannot get into the 16,000-seat Bryce Jordan Center each year,” Debbie Meshanski said.
Lynn Springer of Mt. Pleasant Township has donated to THON for several years, the past three through Meshanski.
“I donate because I believe it is an awesome charity and I would hope that other people would care if I happened to have a child of my own who had cancer,” Springer said. “I think these students who run this philanthropy are amazing.”
Linda Harkcom is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.