THON raises more than $6.6 million

University Park, Pa. -- THON broke all records this year, raising more than $6 million and bringing the total raised since its inception to more than $50 million for the Four Diamonds Fund. The actual total raised was $6,615,318.04.

"We went crazy when we saw the total," said dancer Allie DiCastro. "It's such a rewarding experience. It's something I'll have for the rest of my life."

Fellow dancer Tina Clavvers agreed. "At times it definitely felt more difficult than we thought. But the last two hours we spent a lot of time with our families. When I got to dance with my THON child near the end it brought it all home and gave me lots of energy," she said.

Top earners for THON 08 are:

-- Council of Commonwealth Student Governments: 1: Fayette, $45,370.78; 2: Altoona, $39,935.83; and 3: Hazleton, $35,787.25.

-- Independent: 1: Atlas, $160,473.97; 2: Springfield, $128.818.58; and 3: Phi Gamma Nu, a professional business fraternity, $55,507.49.

-- Greek: 1. Alpha Tau Omega and Zeta Tau Alpha, $233,259.14; 2. Pi Kappa Phi and Alpha Chi Omega, $206,050.72; 3. Lambda Chi Alpha and Alpha SIgma Alpha, $186,641.02; 4. Delta Sigma Phi and Alpha Omicron Pi, $136,989.66; and 5. Acacia and Gamma Phi Beta $136,973.33.

Throughout the 46-hour no-sitting, no-sleeping event, dancers were supported by Moralers and other THON volunteers, as well as by the entertainment, and the crowds in the stands. Many of the Four Diamonds Families who benefit from the money raised at THON also were in attendance.

"I was impressed with how smoothly the weekend went. Everything went according to plan," said Mike Petresek, overall publicity chair for THON. "That was definitely due to having a year's experience in the building. We were really happy with how everything  flowed."

One of the most popular events of THON 08 was a new take on the annual pep rally. This year, the event was turned into a Music Awards competition, hosted by Nate Althouse, director of the Varsity "S" Club, and Joe Battista, executive director of the Nittany Lion Club. Several Penn State athletic teams participated -- most in person, but also some via live satellite -- dancing to various types of music. Winners were chosen by applause. The field hockey team, football team and women's soccer team danced in the Pop Music category, with the women's soccer team taking top honors. The men's tennis team won in the hip-hop category, beating out the women's basketball team competing via satellite, and the women's golf team, which was joined by Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity. The final category, the Fabulous '80s, saw the baseball team competing via live satellite against the men's golf team, and the Nittany Lion with the cheerleaders. It took two voice votes by dancers and the crowd, but the men's golf team narrowly edged the Nittany Lion and cheerleaders to take the victory.

In addition to various musical acts, the dancers had lots of diversions to entertain them. There were a few family variety hours featuring Four Diamonds children and their siblings, activities including the mat of strength where dancers slide down a powdered mat and enjoy a 10-second massage before getting back on their feet; marshmallow-and-spaghetti towers; and the usual balls, Hula Hoops and water pistols.

For a small sampling of photos from Friday, visit http://live.psu.edu/stilllife/1596 online; from Saturday, visit http://live.psu.edu/stilllife/1597 online; and from Sunday, including the total, visit http://live.psu.edu/stilllife/1598 online. For a larger collection of photos covering much of the activity from THON 08, visit http://live.psu.edu/stilllife/1599 online. For photos from THON Express, a 135- mile run that began at 6 p.m. on Feb. 21 at Penn State Hershey Medical Center, and ended on Feb. 22 at the Bryce Jordan Center, visit http://live.psu.edu/stilllife/1595 online.

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Last Updated November 18, 2010