Penn State Athletics set for active role at THON this weekend

February 13, 2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State Athletics again will be heavily involved with the 46th IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon (THON) held at the Bryce Jordan Center this weekend.

THON’s 700+ dancers, including six student-athletes and members of the cheerleading and dance teams, will begin standing at 6 p.m. on Friday and not sit down or sleep until Sunday at 4 p.m. to raise awareness for the fight against pediatric cancer in the largest student-run philanthropy in the world.

Every school day, 43 children are diagnosed with cancer. Cancer kills more children in the United States than asthma, cystic fibrosis, diabetes and pediatric AIDs combined and the cumulative average cost of cancer treatment for one child is $500,000, according to

Since 1977, THON has partnered with Four Diamonds at Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital with one goal in mind: conquering childhood cancer. To date, more than $136 million has been raised by THON, including more than $10 million in 2016-17, and at least 95 percent of the funds raised at THON are donated directly to Four Diamonds.

Each year, more than 400 Penn State student organizations and approximately 16,500 student volunteers dedicate their time to THON, making it the largest student-run philanthropy in the world.

Members of Penn State's Student Athlete Advisory Board (SAAB) are active participants in THON, and have run several fund-raising activities again this year, including sending solicitation letters to friends and family, the Third Annual Lip Sync Battle and the annual online auction, which raised approximately $5,000. SAAB fund raising events this year included a Pie-in-the Face, selling football game programs around Beaver Stadium, and participating in Staters Tailgate with the Sustainability Institute.

In addition to generating financial support for THON, SAAB also provides emotional support to its THON children, Isabella Messina and Colton Buckley, and their families throughout the year.

SAAB has raised nearly $40,000 for THON and is in reach of its goal to raise $50,000 to assist in the fight against pediatric cancer. Through the years, SAAB members have raised more than $700,000 for Four Diamonds.

Those wishing to assist in SAAB's fund-raising efforts and help a great cause by donating directly to THON can do so by visiting and selecting SAAB as the organization whose name you'd like to donate under. The direct SAAB donation link is:

Five Penn State student-athletes will represent SAAB as dancers:

  • Delani Higgins (field hockey, junior; Hummelstown, Pennsylvania)
  • Connor Raeman (men’s golf, junior; Canandaigua, New York)
  • Megan Schafer (women’s soccer, senior; Langhorne, Pennsylvania)
  • Charlie Shuman (football, senior; Pittsford, New York)
  • Sarafina Valenti (women’s soccer, sophomore; Bechtelsville, Pennsylvania)

Additionally, Nick Scott (football, senior; Fairfax, Virginia) will dance as an independent. Schafer and Shuman are dancing in THON for the second consecutive year.

Also dancing in THON are Erin Berger, Marissa Cole and Travis Troya from Penn State Cheerleading and Patricia DeTomas-Medina, Riley Majiros and Gabriella Raedelli from the Lionettes Dance Team.

In addition to the dancers and several committee members, numerous other student-athletes both attend THON and participate in Student-Athlete Hour and a THON favorite, the Pep Rally. A record tying 18 teams will be dancing in the Pep Rally, which is one of the highlight events during THON, and student athletes from 18 teams also will participate in the Athlete Hour.

A number of Penn State teams will host families as part of the THON 2018 Explorers Program. The football program will host approximately 20 THON families at the Lasch Building in conjunction with the THON Explorers Program on Saturday.

This year’s THON marks the 11th year of the event in the Bryce Jordan Center, having previously being held in the HUB, White Building and Rec Hall.

Check back to and Penn State Athletics’ social media accounts for additional coverage of SAAB's participation in THON during the weekend.

Students from the College of Communications will again produce a webcast of THON, available at:

For more information about Dance Marathon, go to

Last Updated February 13, 2018