UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.— The 42nd annual Penn State Dance Marathon will commence Friday in the Bryce Jordan Center with many Nittany Lion student-athletes among the dancers and committee members helping to raise money and awareness for pediatric cancer patients and their families.
Known affectionately to Penn Staters as "THON," Dance Marathon is the culminating event to a year's worth of fundraising by Penn State students for pediatric cancer research and treatment at the Milton S. Hershey Center. THON is the largest student-run philanthropy in the world. Since 1977, THON has raised more than $101 million for The Four Diamonds Fund, including a record $12.9 million in 2013.
Members of Penn State's Student Athlete Advisory Board (SAAB) are actively involved in THON, and have run several fund-raising activities once again this year including sending solicitation letters to friends and family, canning at various athletic events, and holding an online auction. SAAB also held the Mr. & Mrs. Student-Athlete Pageant, as well as a volleyball tournament and barbeque in the fall to benefit THON. In addition to generating financial support for THON, SAAB also provides emotional support to its THON child, Isabella Messina, and her family throughout the year.
Those wishing to assist in SAAB's fund-raising efforts and help a good cause by donating directly to THON can do so by visiting www.thon.org and selecting SAAB as the organization whose name you'd like to donate under.
Four student-athletes will represent SAAB as dancers: Natalie Buttinger (Field hockey; Kitchener, Ontario, Canada), Maggie Harding (Women’s volleyball; State College), Christian Kaschak (Men’s soccer; York) and Erin Kehoe (Women’s soccer; Crystal Lake, Ill.).
Nicole Williams and Elise Potter will represent the Lionettes and Penn State Cheer squad members Eugene Bodden, Kali Fleckenstein, Carrie Tedesco and Ally Zimmerman also are dancing.
Dancers are not allowed to sit nor sleep during the 46-hour event that is held in the Bryce Jordan Center. This year's THON will begin at 6 p.m. Eastern time on Friday, Feb. 21, and end at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 23.
In addition to the dancers and captains, numerous other student-athletes both attend THON and participate in Student-Athlete Hour and a THON favorite, the Pep Rally. The Penn State men’s basketball team will be among the squads participating in a THON Make-A-Wish clinic Saturday afternoon in the IM Building and members of the football team will give tours of the Lasch Building in conjunction with THON and the Make-A-Wish Foundation on Saturday.
Check back to www.GoPSUsports.com for additional coverage of SAAB's participation in THON during the weekend.