Penn State's dance marathon (lovingly abbreviated to THON) concluded today, with a total of 7.8 million dollars being raised in total.
Top fundraisers this year (as usual) were Alpha Tau Omega and Zeta Tau Alpha, raising over $300,000. Second this year were Alpha Sigma Alpha and Lambda Chi Alpha, and third were Alpha Chi Omega and Pi Kappa Phi. The total amount of money raised by all of the organizations was $7,838,054.36, surpassing last year's total of $7,490,133.87, despite the economic recession.
THON is a year-long fundraising effort that benefits the Four Diamonds Fund, an organization that funds research and support for children with cancer. Specifically what the Four Diamonds Fund does is provide mental, physical, emotional, and financial support for both the children with cancer as well as their families, and they have a dedicated team of pediatric oncologists as well as nutritionists, play therapists, and social workers to help each child and their family cope in this extremely difficult situation.
THON culminates in a 46 hour no-sitting, no-sleeping dance marathon, which is a symbolic "stand" with these children through their fight with cancer. To paraphrase what is said by many dancers; "What we go through during these 46 hours is nothing. At the end of this, we get to go home, sleep this off, and feel better in a few days. What the families go through, that is the nightmare".
What I love most about THON is the true sense of community, solidarity, and empathy that most all of the students either have or learn while at THON. The feeling inside of the building cannot be described accurately- one must be there to truly feel and understand it. THON brings together Greeks, independents, people from all of the country and all over the world with one goal-- to end pediatric cancer. The rallying cry of all the dancers, committee members, and supporters is this "One day we will dance in celebration. Until then we will dance for a cure."
For an idea of what the atmosphere of what it is like during THON, as well for more information about what THON is and what it does, visit this
link. Also to see more of the heart of THON, this
video is really powerful.