UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State DuBois' THON committee has once again broken its own record in raising funds to support the University-wide efforts of THON, which was held Feb. 17-19 at the Bryce Jordan Center at University Park. DuBois raised $27,616.47 this year to rank No. 9 among Commonwealth Campus locations for funds raised. The University-wide THON total raised this year was $10,045,478.44.
Each year THON challenges dancers to stay on their feet for 46 hours to raise money for the Four Diamonds Fund. The event's sole beneficiary and a leader in the fight against pediatric cancer, the Four Diamonds Fund fills in the funding gaps that insurance leaves for the patients it serves, enabling families to focus on caring for their child. Because of large donors like THON, Penn State Children's Hospital recruits world-class talent to continue innovative research, and to maintain and expand the state-of-the-art facility.
Jake Coalmer, Chanice Britten and Jacob Skubisz were the designated THON dancers representing Penn State DuBois this year. They each made it through the entire 46-hour stretch.
"I had an amazing time at THON 2017. Seeing the Bryce Jordan Center filled with dancers, Greek organizations, special organizations, and supporters come together for a common cause was very moving," said Skubisz. "I was glad to get the chance to play with some of the Four Diamonds children, as these are the children that THON supports. The Four Diamonds children are the kids that need to have fun the most while they are fighting cancer, and to see their smiles and laughter was great to see. I am proud of all members of THON for taking out their time to raise money for Four Diamonds and for raising over $10 million for THON 2017. I am also proud of my fellow THON dancers and members from DuBois for breaking our fundraising record for a second year in a row."
"I will never forget my experience with THON weekend," Britten added. "THON has forever changed my life. I met families who have had cancer impact them. I did this for my grandma, and for a friend who passed away in December from cancer. I encourage anyone to try and be a dancer, you will not regret it, and I would do it again in a heartbeat. I am overwhelmed with love and support from this weekend. As always, FTK and Kayla."
Coalmer credited all of the THON volunteers at DuBois, and their hard work, with making the record-breaking total possible.
"To me, each and every one of our few, but very proud and dedicated members, deserved to be on the floor to experience those 46 hours just like I did. To describe how I feel about being so lucky and honored to represent all of them, it just cannot be described," Coalmer said. "THON has inspired me in so many ways, and this weekend just added to that tenfold. While we had several very rough times physically and emotionally, ... we absolutely couldn't have done it without the love and support of our organization and THON family. I want to personally thank my fellow co-chair Greg Myers and adviser Marly Doty for helping us through the entire weekend and fundraising year, their never-ending support for me was beyond measure, and I could never possibly thank them for it. Another huge shoutout would go to our Four Diamonds family, the Setlocks. While I didn't know them very much leading up to THON weekend, they came to support us nevertheless."
Myers is also a former THON dancer, and he knows what it takes to make it the whole way through this event.
"I just wanted to say how proud I am of our three dancers. Dancing at THON is not an easy task; it is physically, mentally and emotionally draining," Myers said. "Despite this, all three of them stuck it out and were great the whole weekend. With this being my last year with THON as a student, it was very special. I am also incredibly proud of our entire organization for breaking our record for the second year in a row. This total put us in the top 10 for Commonwealth Campuses for the second year in a row as well. I couldn't have asked for a better way to cap off my THON experience as a student."
Assistant Director of Student Affairs Marly Doty is adviser to the THON committee and volunteered with THON as a student. "THON becomes part of who you are," she said. "The Four Diamonds stand for wisdom, courage, honesty and strength. Our students in THON work to embody those characteristics and selflessness in raising money so families of children with pediatric cancer never see a bill.
"Pride doesn’t seem like a strong enough word for how I feel for this team. They have been tireless in their efforts to make THON better and find ways to generate more funds for this cause. Greg Myers and Jake Coalmer did a good job leading the efforts this year, and I’m incredibly proud of our dancers in representing DuBois at THON. There were several current and former DuBois students in the stands this weekend as well standing and supporting the dancers, and we are grateful for them and their support."
Students raise funds for THON over the course of several months each year, holding dinners and bingo fundraisers, soliciting donations, and organizing a hair auction where volunteers get their hair cut if bidders reach an established reserve. This year, the hair auction raised $11,000 alone.
THON began in 1973, when dancers raised just over $2,000. Today, it is the largest student-run philanthropy effort in the nation.