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Growing up is a beautiful thing. Let’s fight for it.
The GammAcacia THON Organization was founded in 2007 when the sisters of Gamma Phi Beta and the brothers of Acacia joined forces to partake in Penn State’s fight against pediatric cancer. Our dedication and passion towards THON’s mission quickly molded us into one family, and we have been united in the pursuit of a cure ever since.
THON’s sole beneficiary is the Four Diamonds Foundation at Penn State Children’s Hospital. THON is a student run philanthropy committed to enhancing the lives of children and families impacted by childhood cancer. Our mission is to provide emotional and financial support, spread awareness, and ensure funding for critical research – all in pursuit of a cure. Since our organization was founded, GammAcacia has successfully contributed $1.9 million to The Four Diamonds Fund.
THON is a family. We are lucky enough to be paired with four incredible Four Diamonds Families: The Jedediah Smith Family, The Jazmine Cope Family, The Bree Taylor Family and the Paula Engel-Herbert Family.
Jed Smith always put others first and lived his life looking at the glass half full. He was a huge Penn State football fan, and he adored his family. In May of 2002, when he was just four years old, Jed was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. After fighting long and hard for eight years, Jed passed away in 2010. We will never forget the lasting impact that Jed made on GammAcacia. He will always be a part of our family.
Jazmine Cope loved to play volleyball and listen to Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift. Jaz was active in her middle school's mini - THON efforts; her school continues to be the top money-raising middle school in the state! She was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia and Myelofibrosis in 2010. She lost her hard-fought battle in November of 2010, just nine months after being diagnosed. Her bravery and kind spirit continue to inspire us all, and she will forever live on in our hearts.
Bree Taylor, just celebrated her 25th birthday in August! She is a big basketball and soccer fan and has conquered cancer twice! Bree is one of the strongest and most fearless people that we know and we are so proud to have her in our family.
Last, but certaintly not least, we have Paula Engel-Herbert. She was diagnosed with cancer when she was only two years old and underwent treatment and was deemed cancer free in 2014. She then had a relapse in 2015 but after more treatment she has been three years without sign of disease! Paula is the most courageous person we know. Her and her big sister Emma, GammAcacia's biggest fan, are silly, energetic, and absolutley hilarious. We love watching Paula and Emma grow up and are beyond lucky to call them family.
As an organization, we are so grateful to each and every one of our THON children and their families. They continue to teach and inspire us every single day. We THON for them. We THON so that no more parents have to be told that their child has cancer. We THON for a cure. We hope that you will join us in our THON 2020 journey, and we look forward to the future when pediatric cancer is a distant memory.
Help save the lives of children battling cancer by supporting THONTM. Our Organization, GammAcacia, is taking action by uniting with 16,500 student volunteers to raise funds and awareness in the fight against childhood cancer. Since 1977, THONTM has raised over $168 million for Four Diamonds at Penn State Children's Hospital. Throughout our partnership, we have ensured that over 4,000 families have not seen a single medical bill. In addition, the local research that is being done is making a global impact so that one day, we will find a cure. Each February, THON's yearlong efforts and support for the families culminate in a 46-hour, no-sitting, no-sleeping dance marathon.