Stage set for THON fundraising success at Penn State Harrisburg

October 22, 2012

MIDDLETOWN, Pa. -- The theme for Penn State’s THON dance marathon, Inspire Tomorrow’s Miracles, is being put into action at Penn State Harrisburg, where fundraising is in swing and student volunteers have planned a full calendar of events to raise money and public awareness. Last year, the campus raised more than $31,000. This year’s goal is $45,000.

THON is the largest student-run philanthropic initiative in the world, having raised more than $88 million during the past 40 years for the Four Diamonds Fund, an organization that helps families battling pediatric cancer.

One record was already broken in September. During the first of three canning weekends, during which volunteers collect money in tin cans, the Penn State Harrisburg's THON volunteers raised $11,094 – their highest total ever for a single weekend. THON students continued their efforts in the Harrisburg and Hershey areas this past weekend, with the final University-wide canning weekend planned for Nov. 9 to 11.

“I think we have a really good group of volunteers. I hope we can break our record and have an awesome year,” said Megan Bennett, a senior American studies student and Penn State Harrisburg THON fundraising chair.

In September, the college hosted a reception and advanced screening for the new, 60-minute documentary “Why We Dance: The Story of THON,” a film which explores the 46-hour dance marathon with more than 700 annual dancers and 15,000 student organizers. At the screening, the current Penn State Harrisburg THON chairs, alumni and Four Diamond families discussed their experiences. The film can be purchased from Penn State Public Broadcasting at

The college also celebrated two new THON events in mid-October, a carnival in conjunction with Homecoming and a 5K fun run/walk. The Carnival-4-A-Cure, with games, giveaways and food, encouraged student involvement in THON. The fun run/walk expanded outreach to the local community.

"Penn State Harrisburg's first Carnival 4-A-Cure was a great success,” said Michelle Pellechia, a senior information sciences and technology major and THON public relations captain. “Being a part of THON, we are truly trying to get more people to join and understand what it is all about and events like these are a great way for everyone to get more involved with this amazing cause."

Two additional public events are scheduled before THON Weekend and others are being planned:
-- Bowling Night, 9 p.m. to midnight, Nov. 7, ABC East Lanes in Harrisburg, $10 per person for all-you-can-bowl, no registration necessary.
-- Skate Night, 9 p.m. to midnight, Jan. 17, Klick Lewis Arena in Annville, cost: TBA, no registration necessary.
-- Planning is also underway for a THON dodgeball tournament, swim-a-thon and glow party.

The year’s fundraising culminates with THON Weekend Feb. 15 to 17, during which the University-wide total is revealed. Last year, Penn State students raised $10,686,924.83 for the Four Diamonds Fund.

  • During the first THON canning weekend, Penn State Harrisburg students raised a campus record of $11,094.

    IMAGE: Sharon Siegfried

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated October 23, 2012