Last year we raised $13,026,653.23 through the Penn State Dance Marathon, a year-round fundraising and awareness campaign for our sole beneficiary – The Four Diamonds at Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital! The fact that 15,000 students can all come together and work towards the same goal is truly amazing and reinforces the fact that truly no one fights alone.
Location: State College, Pennsylvania
Role: THON 2016 Public Relations Director
Who inspires you to give?:
For those unfamiliar with our mission, the Penn State Dance Marathon is a year-round fundraising and awareness campaign for our sole beneficiary – The Four Diamonds at Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital. This fund covers everything from medical bills to additional assistance in a variety of areas for families who have been affected by childhood cancer. It is the children of the Four Diamonds who are my greatest inspiration. The fact that innocent children can so bravely fight a disease so terrible as cancer, makes any problems others might have seem minuscule. The courage displayed by every Four Diamonds family and the impact that has had on me is what inspires me to work towards finding a cure for childhood cancer, so that one day no parent will ever have to hear the words “your child has cancer.”
What motivates you to give?:
Aside from seeing the number of children and families who have been helped through our organization, my biggest motivators are the 15,000 other student volunteers working tirelessly towards the same goal. The fact that 15,000 students can all come together and work towards the same goal is truly amazing and reinforces the fact that truly no one fights alone. And it’s each volunteer’s unique talents and perspectives that make our organization as impactful as it has been.
Can you share an example of how you give back?:
As an organizer of the largest student-run philanthropy in the world, we primarily give back through our time and energy dedicated to planning THON events/THON Weekend and continuing to spread THON’s mission. My experiences with THON and relationships with Four Diamonds families have made me a better person in so many ways and I’m so grateful for the opportunity to give back to them all that they have given me by spreading the word of our mission and encouraging others to join us in this fight.
What is your philanthropy of choice and why?:
THON, of course! I would assume it goes without saying that my philanthropy of choice would be the one in which I work on behalf of, THON, so it may be more purposeful for me to explain to you why I became involved with it. As student-run philanthropy, THON is inspiring a generation of young people and empowering them to change the world around them through philanthropy.
Being apart of this organization during my time as a Penn State student has been more rewarding than I could have ever imagined . Furthermore, I truly believe in THON’s mission of not only raising funds but also awareness for childhood cancer. While the funds we raise for the Four Diamonds families represent truly impressive milestones, it is the dual emphasis on research and raising awareness that is going to bring us closer to a cure.
Photo Credit: Caity Kramer/THON Photography