THON: Canning For A Cause

By Heidi Kolar

UPPER BURRELL, Pa.—What is THON you might ask? Well, for those of you who have been living under a rock, THON is the largest student-run philanthropy in the world; yes you read that right, the world! THON began back in 1977, and since then THON has raised over $89 million for the Four Diamonds Fund at Penn State Hershey Medical Center.

Each year students from Penn State go out and brave the elements to receive donations for THON. Students go to various local stores and restaurants to “can” in order to raise money “For The Kids” (FTK). There have been three canning weekends thus far, and the last and final weekend for canning is the weekend of Nov. 9, 10 and 11. 

Before THON weekend, each campus must select their dancers to represent them. Each campus is allotted a number of dancers they can select based upon the amount of money they raised the year prior. If you are in the top 5 common wealth campus’ then you should be allotted 4 dancers; PSNK is allotted four dancers this year!

There are some guidelines you must follow to get selected, however. THON Chair Kelsie Nury explains, “You must raise a minimum of $1,000 over the course of the canning weekends and attend at least 75% of all our meetings.” She also adds, “there is an interview process where the students have to answer a series of questions about various things from moral issues to why they THON.”

THON weekend is a weekend of no sleeping and no sitting, just dancing, singing and spreading the joy and love around with fellow students and the families that benefit from THON. Each year students from each campus are selected by their fellow THON-ers to become a dancer. A dancer gets to stay on the floor for the entire 46-hours of the marathon and represent their campus.

“I will be trying out for a dancer position this year,” Emily McDaniel, a member of THON, said.  “Attending THON weekend last year I know that it is not an easy task, but I am up for the challenge. Dancer or not I will be at THON weekend as a moraler[sic].”

Last year during THON weekend it was revealed THON raised a whopping $10.6 million, and our students here at PSNK raised a little over $50,000 FTK! When I asked how much PSNK students have raised so far, Nury had her lips sealed saying, “It’s a secret! We like to wait until the end to reveal our total.”

Nury did share that each canning weekend they have a goal of $10,000 they hope to raise. “This year our goal is to reach $55,000. We’re a little behind, but hopefully the next canning weekend will push us over the top.”

McDaniel adds, “I think others should be a part of THON because the more members we have the more money we can raise to help fight and cure cancer! Being a part of THON takes a lot of hard work and dedication but once the final total is revealed during THON weekend you know it has all paid off.”

THON member Jenna Swank says THON is important to her because, “[she] sees how much it really makes an impact on people’s lives. Being a part of something this big is a great feeling.”

If this inspires you to join THON don’t think it’s too late.  Any time you wish to join to help the cause, no worries! Swank mentions, “You can get involved at any point. Just come to the meetings or stop in the Student Life office for information.”

So fellow students here at PSNK, remember on the weekend of Nov. 9-11, 2012 when you see students in front of your local stores to give a little something, because your donation could save a life. This year THON weekend will be held over the weekend of Feb. 15-17,, 2013. Bear in mind, this is all FOR THE KIDS!


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