Penn State's THON sets record with $12.37M take
Students at Penn State University's THON danced their way to a record this year in raising money to fight pediatric cancer.
University organizers said on Sunday that THON, a yearlong fundraiser that culminated with a dance marathon, raised $12.37 million, up from $10.6 million the previous year.
“I'm so overwhelmed I can't believe it,” spokeswoman Samantha Agostino said.
Agostino, a junior from New City, N.Y.,had no explanation for the record, nearly a 17 percent increase over last year.
“Our volunteers are just so passionate about this cause,” she said.
About 15,000 students are involved in year-round fundraising efforts, and about 4,000 volunteers help dancers and put on the show on THON weekend.
The students set the record despite Hurricane Sandy, which forced the cancellation of some THON fundraising trips, and continuing fallout from a sex abuse scandal involving former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.
“I think it just shows how powerful our student volunteers are,” said Daria Sakharova, 22, of South Fayette, a communications captain for the event.
“We've been told again and again, ‘You can't do it, it'll never happen, you can't beat $10 million.' And then we beat the record again.”
With this year's total, students have raised more than $100 million for the Four Diamonds Fund at Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital since 1977.
The event involves more than 700 participants standing on their feet for 46 hours, supported by thousands of volunteers. Pediatric cancer patients and their families attend the event, which takes over the 15,200-seat Bryce Jordan Center.
“Honestly, it's an indescribable feeling. It's so much fun. You walk in and feel the love in the building,” said Rebecca Roderick, 20, a junior from Allison Park.
Her two sisters — Nicole, a 2008 graduate, and Kristin, a 2011 grad — also volunteered for THON. Rebecca Roderick is a family relations captain, a liaison between fundraiser organizers and families of children with cancer. The family relations team helps provide emotional support for cancer families and arranges for them to attend the marathon.
“They were definitely blown away,” she said. “Every cent we raised is very important to them, and they're appreciative of the number.”
Tiffany Weinsheimer of Lancaster attended the event with her family, husband Jack, and sons Bryan, 11, and Braydan, 6, and other relatives. Bryan found out six years ago that he had brain cancer. Since then, he has had six months of chemotherapy, three surgeries, six weeks of radiation therapy and gamma knife surgery.
Bryan will go to the Hershey Medical Center on March 1 to learn if he passed the five-year mark for being cancer-free. During THON, dancers from Omega Phi Alpha sorority and Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity fought sleep to raise money in his name.
“This year, we had four dancers on the floor for Bryan, and they stood on the floor for 46 hours straight. No sleeping or sitting the whole time,” said Tiffany Weinsheimer, 32.
Because of THON, the family has not had to pay any of more than $1 million in medical costs. In addition, Four Diamonds gave the family gas cards to drive to Hershey for Bryan's radiation therapy and meal cards for the family while he was in the hospital.
“I've never seen a bill,” Weinsheimer said.
Staff writer Matthew Santoni contributed to this report. Bill Zlatos is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7828 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
- 1 killed in Lawrence County tractor-trailer crash
- Weather closes Penn State for first time in 8 years
- 242 Pennsylvania workers not state residents
- Cochranton farm specializes in growing out-of-season vegetables
- Wolf to outline charter school plan in budget address
- Snow causes roof to collapse at Crawford County plastics plant
- News Alert