Talk show host to speak at THON benefit in New York City

In addition to Penn State Quarterbacks Coach Jay Paterno, the third annual NYC Hope Gala will welcome cancer survivor, talk show host and activist Matthew Zachary as an honored speaker. The gala, an extension of Penn State's Dance Marathon (THON), will be held at New York City’s legendary Capitale on Jan. 21. Funds from the event will directly facilitate cancer research and providing financial support for affected families through the Four Diamonds Fund at Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital in Hershey, Pa.

A cancer survivor himself, Zachary is the CEO and Founder of the “I'm Too Young For This! Cancer Foundation,” which has since become the nation's largest support community for young adults affected by cancer. The foundation was ranked a TIME Magazine Best 50 website and FOX News Top 10 Healthcare Blog and has a global following of hundreds of thousands of friends, fans, readers, listeners and members. Matthew has helped to bring the cause of those with cancer below age 40 to the national spotlight. He also hosts “Stupid Cancer Show,” an award-winning international talk radio webcast that tackles hard hitting issues from politics, health care and the environment to social media, entertainment and education.

“I love being able to speak to other supporters of pediatric and young adult cancer research, and have made it my life’s goal to call attention to the cause of 'cancer under 40,’” Zachary said. “It’s important that the population of cancer-affected children, young adults, and their caregivers get a much needed voice, making it a true honor to speak at this year’s NYC Hope Gala.”

The NYC Hope Gala was first held in 2009 to expand philanthropic efforts beyond Penn State for one of the school’s most unifying traditions, its 46-hour no-sitting, no-sleeping Dance Marathon affectionately known as THON. As the largest student-run philanthropy in the world, THON has raised nearly $70 million for the cause since 1977 -- $7.8 million last year alone -- and has helped thousands of children and families in their fight against pediatric cancer.

One in every 330 Americans will develop cancer by the age of 20, and an average of 12,500 children and adolescents in the U.S. are diagnosed with cancer each year. The Four Diamonds Fund is dedicated to continued research as well as providing financial support for families affected by pediatric cancer, including meals, hotels and transportation costs while their family member is undergoing treatment at Hershey.

Tickets for the 2011 NYC Hope Gala are available for $200. VIP tickets are $275 and include a private reception with Paterno. To purchase tickets, receive additional information and learn about sponsorship opportunities, visit http://www.nychopegala.com/ online.

Last Updated March 21, 2011