Third year in a row EMS THON first among general organizations

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Penn State's College of Earth and Mineral Sciences (EMS) THON organization is on a roll. For the third year in a row it has achieved the distinction of raising the most money among the 253 general organizations participating in the IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon (THON), held Feb. 15-17 in the Bryce Jordan Center on the University Park campus.

“The last four hours were a real struggle for me,” said energy engineering senior Sarah Bademan, a THON dancer for EMS. “But when the time came for the totals to be slowly revealed on the screen, I grabbed the hands of the people around me. When the EMS amount of $92,481.23 popped up on the screen, I was jumping up and down with excitement.”

Overall, THON raised a record $12,375,034.46 for the Four Diamonds Fund at Penn State Hershey Medical Center.

The motto of EMS THON is “One College. One Love. One Fight.” Overall EMS Chairperson Marla Korpar, a senior in environmental systems engineering,  describes herself and her fellow students as “warriors who battle against pediatric cancer," and this warrior's preferred weapon is a spread sheet. Months before the event occurred, Korpar created a detailed hour-by-hour Excel sheet to plan events before and during THON weekend.

Korpar explains that THON is “evolving,” and “canning is just one major part of the fundraising efforts.” She credits corporate donations, THONline fundraising, Peer to Peer Giving, and the inspirational WPSU documentary, "Why We Dance," as reasons for this year’s success.

“No one person could accomplish what we did," she said. "For us, it’s a team approach. I’m so proud of our integrity too. We are guided by the true purpose of THON. When it came time to pick our dancers, which is a huge honor, we all agreed it wasn’t a popularity contest. We picked dancers who had demonstrated the heart for the cause."

In addition to Bademan, Chris DiMisa (energy, business and finance), Brittany Eckert (energy, business and finance), Julianna Ganter (environmental systems engineering), Alyson Hoegg (meteorology) and Jacqueline Layer (meteorology) were chosen to represent the college. Pre-THON training of cutting caffeine, getting regular work-outs, finding time for sleep, and eating healthfully strengthened their hearts in a physical way too. “I haven’t felt this healthy in my whole college career,” said Layer.

Eckert added, “THON changes the lives of the dancers in so many ways. But it also changes the lives of our THON families and all those participating. It gives us a better perspective on what’s truly important.”

Ganter noted that “providing emotional support to the Four Diamonds Families is my favorite part of THON. I don’t think people realize how emotionally connected we are to the families."

“It’s true,” said DiMisa. “The most memorable moment of THON for me was after Family Hour. Butch Brewer, the father of one of our families just hugged me. We didn’t say anything, we just hugged.”

“The best part for me," said Eckert, "was seeing the Woods family in the human tunnel as I entered the Bryce Jordan Center to start THON. They surprised us; we didn’t think they’d come until Sunday.”

Along with the Brewers and the Woods, the Jackson Hollinger family was paired with EMS this year through the Adopt-A-Family program. Jackson turned twelve in January and is in active treatment for his cancer.

“Seeing the children and the families shows me that complaining about little things in life is unnecessary,” said Hoegg. “I will live every day to the fullest. You never know what will happen today or tomorrow.”
 

Contacts: 
Last Updated February 25, 2013