For the Kids: THON Returns to the BJC


Photo Courtesy of Isabella Messina

Senior, Isabella Messina and her family at THON 2019. Isabella is a two time cancer survivor and has been a Four Diamonds child since 2003.

Lexi Kranich, Staff Writer

On Saturday, February 16th, over 700 Pennsylvania State University students participated in the 48 hour no sitting, no sleeping dance marathon.

The Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon, or THON, is the largest student-run philanthropy in the world. THON is a year-long effort that raises awareness and money for the fight against childhood cancer. The event is held annually in February at the Bryce Jordan Center.

Working since 1977, THON has raised over $157 million dollars benefitting the Four Diamonds Fund at Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital. The Four Diamonds Fund was founded by Charles and Irma Millard after their son, Christopher, died at 11 due to cancer. Thanks to the Millard family, 4,000 families have been helped by over 16,500 student volunteers.

This year, students raised $10,621,683.76 dollars.

Isabella Messina, a senior at State College Area High School and a Four Diamonds child since 2003, is a two-time cancer survivor. Messina said, “THON is an experience unlike anything else. I’ve gone to THON for 16 years and watched it move from Rec Hall to the Bryce Jordan Center. However, as it has changed the atmosphere has always stayed the same. THON is a huge family where everyone has your back. My experience will stay with me for the rest of my life and Penn State THON will always be a home I can come back to.”

At the core, THON makes a difference in the lives of children and families battling childhood cancer. Each year, THON is able to make sure that 95 cents of every dollar directly impacts those children and their families.