THON Dancer Keighley Taylor holds THON benefits recipient Austin Lightner

For the Kids

Four Penn State Mont Alto students will dance for the cure THON Weekend

Penn State Mont Alto came in fourth in raising funds among Commonwealth campuses for THON 2018.

“I am extremely nervous and excited all at once. I have been counting down the days,” said Penn State Mont Alto THON member Keighley Taylor, prior to the February event.

She is one of four 2018 dancers ― Skyler Miller, Kaylee Read, and Mackenzie Brymesser ― who danced for the cure during Penn State’s IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon, affectionately referred to as THON. About 70 Penn State Mont Alto THON supporters joined them and 15,000 others in the Bryce Jordan Center in State College.  Interviews with all the dancers in the week before THON revealed motivations and big hearts.

“I am looking forward to seeing our families as well as all the THON families who we are doing everything for. I am excited to see all the great Penn State students packed into the BJC. Lastly, I am excited to see the smiles on all of the kids’ faces and excited to give them a weekend where it doesn’t matter what they are dealing with outside the BJC. For one weekend in February, they can forget all their doctor’s appointments and all of their procedures and be normal kids,” said Miller.

Approximately 16,000 children under the age of 19 are diagnosed with cancer each year, according to THON’s website. Although survival rates vary per type of cancer, an estimated one in five children will lose their battle with cancer.

“I THON so no parent has to ever hear the words ‘your child has cancer’ ever again. No child should be affected by this terrible disease,” said Taylor.

THON’s sole beneficiary, Four Diamonds, covers treatment costs for pediatric cancer patients at Penn State Children’s Hospital and benefits children everywhere by supporting cutting-edge research to find improved treatments and a cure.

“Our students have worked very hard this year and will dance all weekend to celebrate raising funds and awareness for the fight against pediatric cancer,” said Curtis Hoover, director of student affairs and THON adviser, as the group readied to undertake the hard work of dancing, after undertaking the hard work of fundraising.

The students are passionate about their contributions

“It’s about individuals in our Mont Alto organization taking on leadership roles, being close with our THON families, and just giving THON your all and being all-in,” said Miller.

THON is the world’s largest student-run philanthropy, engaging more than 16,500 students. Since 1977, THON has donated more than $147 million to the four Diamonds at Penn State Children’s Hospital, funding comprehensive care and critical research.

“I became a dancer because I want to be a part of something so amazing and know that I am making a positive impact on the children's lives that need it most…These little cubs deserve to grow up to be lions. We will one day dance in celebration of a cure and until then, I will be dancing to make this dream a reality,” said Mackenzie Brymesser.

Giving back is all about receiving.

“Being in THON has brought so much joy into my life because we are making a difference one step at a time,” said Taylor