By Gretchen Toy
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. – Penn State New Kensington students cheered in the Bryce Jordan Center on Feb. 21 when the final THON total of $7,838,054.36 was revealed.
This total is the result of a yearlong effort by Penn State students to raise money for the Four Diamonds Fund. The fund provides monetary help to families of children who suffer from pediatric cancer.
With the guidance of chairperson Deanna Mazur, a junior student who is currently studying business, and advisor Vanessa Myers, Assistant to the Director of Student Affairs, the Penn State New Kensington THON organization raised a record-breaking total of $23,177.13.
Mazur thinks that the Penn State New Kensington THON group did an amazing job this year.
“The total says a lot about the kind of students that we have on campus,” Mazur said. “We don’t have big donations coming in, so we had to fight to the nail for every penny that we raised.”
The Penn State New Kensington THON group was represented by dancers Megan Karl, 22, of New Kensington, and Sarah Calligan, 19, of Natrona Heights, who participated in the marathon by enduring forty-six hours of no sitting or sleeping.
Calligan and Karl canned for more than 100 hours combined, raising more than $3,800 by themselves.
“Dancing was easy and really fun at first,” Calligan, an Elementary Education major, said. “Eventually, it started to hurt and it got boring, but it was all worth it.”
Karl, a Communications major, agreed that dancing was a very hard experience, but she encouraged other students to try to experience it.
“It will be the hardest, but best experience of your life,” Karl said.
Karl said that she loves everything about THON.
“I love the kids, moralers, families, and students. There is nothing that could possibly be a better experience.”
Calligan agreed that THON is a memorable experience.
“THON is a great organization,” Calligan said. “It helps kids who can’t help themselves.”
Karl first became involved with THON because she wanted to help the children.
“Helping kids with cancer is a very selfless act, and it shows the type of person that you are,” she said. “Because they’re so young, they aren’t able to do anything to help themselves.”
Calligan’s most memorable and exciting moment was when the overall chairpersons revealed the final total on stage. However, raising money is not the only goal of the THON organization.
THON also provides emotional support for families of the children who are suffering.
“I was surrounded by endless love at THON 2010,” Karl said. “Every minute on the floor is a memorable moment, and it’s such an amazing feeling.”
Next year, Calligan will transfer to University Park to continue studying her major. However, she still plans to stay involved with THON.
“I really would like to be a moraler at THON next year,” Calligan said.
Karl also plans to continue to participate in the THON organization.
“Next year, I am going to strive to raise more money,” Karl said. “I am definitely going to try to be a THON dancer again.”