THON hair auction at Penn State DuBois sets new record, raises over $14,000

The before (top) and after (bottom) photos of the hair donors involved in the 2023 Penn State DuBois THON hair auction.

The before (top) and after (bottom) photos of the hair donors involved in the 2023 Penn State DuBois THON hair auction. Before photo, front row left to right: Elise Dufour, Abby Freemer, Marilla Mancuso, back row left to right: Ray Bolling, Gaven Wolfgang, Louise Bennett, Eamon Jamieson, Josh Rishel.

Credit: Penn State

DuBOIS, Pa. — In what can only be described as an outstanding night, and the perfect send off for the four THON dancers from Penn State DuBois, the annual hair auction in support of THON was held Wednesday evening, Feb. 8. By the time the final piece of hair hit the floor at the Hiller Student Union, a record $14,720 had been raised at the event to help in the fight against pediatric cancer.

To begin the festivities, Haley Rummel, 2022 chair of the THON committee at Penn State DuBois, returned to campus to share some thoughts to inspire everyone in attendance, and those watching on the event livestream, with her own THON experiences and what it means to her.

"To say the least, THON changed my life. It made me grow as a person."

—Haley Rummel , former chair of the THON committee, Penn State DuBois

“To say the least, THON changed my life,” Rummel said. “It made me grow as a person. In 2020, I went to THON to support my friend who was a dancer. I knew as soon as I stepped on that floor that I had to be down here and dance. The next year I signed up for THON and I did whatever it took to be a dancer. In the best way possible, I cannot even recognize the person I was before THON.”

Hannah Allen, this year’s THON committee chair, presented the THON award of appreciation to her mother, Miranda. As Hannah expressed in her presentation, she knew what she was applying for when she was interested in becoming the committee chair. Her mother, though, did not know the unofficial position that she was in store for.

“Between this year and last year when I started my THON journey, my mom was there every step of the way,” Allen said. “My mom attended every event and participated in every fundraiser. At THON weekend (last year), she spent almost the same amount of time in the Bryce Jordan Center as I did. That’s saying something since I was there the whole time!”

The event also served as the sendoff for the four dancers who will represent the campus at the 46-hour Penn State Dance Marathon that will take place Feb. 17-19 at the University Park campus. This year’s dancers include Alicia Bryan, a sophomore from DuBois; Eamon Jamieson, a sophomore from Punxsutawney; Jalen Kosko, a freshman from DuBois; and Gaven Wolfgang, a senior from Reynoldsville.

Eight individuals from the Penn State DuBois community agreed to have their hair clipped off, or in some cases buzzed off, all for the cause. Employees from The Beauty Bar in DuBois were once again on hand, donating their time and talents to help each participant remove as much hair as needed based on the donations coming in. This year’s donors included Elise Dufour, former Penn State DuBois student and 2022 THON dancer; Ray Bolling, client and superfan of The Beauty Bar; Abby Freemer, local middle school student and a huge supporter of THON; Wolfgang, one of this year’s THON dancers; Louise Bennett, current student government president at Penn State DuBois; Josh Rishel, friend and colleague of numerous members of the THON committee; Marilla Mancuso, THON supporter whose uncle, Brian Tokarcik, is an employee at the campus; and Jamieson, another one of this year’s THON dancers.

Each participant set goals for how much money they wanted to raise to cut off a certain amount of hair, ranging from several inches to complete buzz cuts. Bolling even gave his beard up for donations to drastically trim that down should enough money be raised. By the end of the night, every hair donor had met or surpassed their goal.

The event also included basket raffles that attendees could donate to receive chances that they could enter their desired basket for a chance to win. The prize baskets were also donated by several community individuals and organizations. With all the donations included from the sendoff dinner and hair auction event, THON at Penn State DuBois has now raised $29,277, surpassing the initial campus goal of $25,000. Donations can still be made in the days leading up to the dance marathon. If you are interested in making a donation, you can do so online via links available on the Penn State DuBois THON webpage. Instructions on navigating the webpage are also available here.

Penn State THON is the largest student-run philanthropy in the world in which thousands of volunteers are committed to enhancing the lives of children and families impacted by childhood cancer. THON is comprised of over 16,500 Penn State student volunteers who aim to provide emotional and financial support to Four Diamonds families, as well as to spread its mission and bring awareness to childhood cancer. Since its start in 1973, THON has raised over $200 million to support Four Diamonds at Penn State Health Children’s Hospital.