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For those who don’t know, THON is a 46 hour no sitting, no sleeping dance marathon that fights so that no parent has to hear the words "your child has cancer". The mission statement is, “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.”
Three years ago, when I came to Penn State I knew that THON was something that I just HAD to get involved in. As a cancer survivor, it was very important for me to get involved in this cause, but in all honestly, I had no idea how big THON was or how it would impact me in the immense way that it has. I decided to apply to be on a THON committee and was luckily chosen to be on the Rules and Regulations committee for the THON 2016-2017 year. Being on Rules and Regulations, I learned procedures throughout the year to help keep THON safe and secure for everyone involved. Throughout this experience, I met some of my closest friends who share the same passion as me all while dedicating our time to others. I additionally stood with my sorority when I was off shift.
Sophomore year, I was on Rules and Regulations again and was also chosen as a THON chair for my sorority, Phi Sigma Sigma. I feel that through my chair positions, Public Relations and Alternative Fundraising, I had the chance to have an even bigger impact on THON. I had the opportunity to get close to our THON families, the Hollister's and Bertram's, and continued to fundraise on their behalf. Sophomore year was an incredible experience through my committee and sorority. Through being a chair, I felt I had an even bigger impact on THON as I was planning multiple fundraising events, attending outings with our THON families and getting to know them better, and working closely with our little team of chairs to make THON the best and most rewarding experience it could be for our org’s members. This experience had a great impact on me. As a sophomore, it’s hard to top your first THON, but this THON definitely did that.
Last year, as a junior, I was on a Public Relations THON committee as well as a chair for my sorority again. With canning and canvassing being phased out this year, it has made fundraising an extremely difficult task, placing a huge emphasis on alternative fundraisers and donor drive. We held several unique fundraisers such as a date auction, taco Tuesday held at our THON partner’s house, Yankee candles fundraising and kickboxing for the kids.
This year I'm serving alongside my best friend Sara as Co-Head THON chair for Phi Sigma Sigma. Not only that, but Sara and I were also voted by our chapter to represent them on the floor for 46 hours at THON! I am so ecstatic to have the opportunity to dance for THON this year which has shaped my college experience and been my dream since freshman year.
THON has given me so much, which is why I am trying to meet my fundraising goal to help out families who are in very similar situations to what I experienced in 2011 when I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Any donation helps these families!