Parents and Families Newsletter: Welcome to the Family!

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Header image of Parents and Families Blog

Credit: Penn State


What is THON?

The Penn State Dance Marathon, better known as THON, is a yearlong effort to raise money and awareness for the fight against pediatric cancer. THON is the largest student-run philanthropy in the world, involving more than 15,000 Penn State student volunteers across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Since 1977, THON has raised more than $114 million benefiting The Four Diamonds Fund at Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital. The Four Diamonds Fund is the sole beneficiary of THON’s fundraising efforts, and it picks up what insurance does not cover, such as travel expenses, lodging, and cost of treatment for families with children fighting pediatric cancer. THON itself is a 46-hour dance marathon with no sitting or sleeping, held at the Bryce Jordan Center in State College. This is our way to celebrate life, and support those who may be suffering through losses.

Our mission is to conquer pediatric cancer and provide emotional and financial support to the children, families, and researchers. As Penn State Mont Alto, our organization consists of more than 140 members. This year we will be holding numerous events to raise money and awareness along with our three canning weekends for Four Diamonds and for our very own THON family!

Mont Alto “adopted” a Four Diamonds family of our own about four years ago. The Lighteners are not just our THON family, but a real family to us. Dan and Holly have two boys named Austin and Evan. Austin turned 7 this year on October 23rd and is also in the 1st grade! Evan is in kindergarten. Austin has been cancer-free for 3 years and can finally enjoy his life.  He loves the movie Frozen, especially Olaf, and in fact, he was Olaf for Halloween! Austin is incredibly smart and enjoys weather; he always checks the temperature and looks for potential weather. He recently got to visit an actual weather studio. Dan and Austin always look up at the stars, moon and space. Even though Austin is cancer-free, he and his family still need our support, both financially and emotionally.

Our campus beat all odds and raised more than $79,000.00 last year, breaking the prior years’ totals. Help us shatter that total again! If you wish to join us in the fight against pediatric cancer, please donate! Please make your check out to Penn State Dance Marathon and put Org #112 in the memo section. You may also send cash if you prefer.

You can send donations to Donna Rhodes, our THON Advisor, at Donna Rhodes Penn State Mont Alto 1 Campus Drive Mont Alto, PA 17237.  You may also reach her by email at [email protected] if you have any questions. 

Thank you for your support For Penn State Mont Alto benefiting THON.

Sincerely, Hanna Hassan and Nick Cheadle, 2015 Mont Alto THON Chairs

To visit the online Parents and Families Newsletter, please click here.