Penn College Students Join Cancer-Battling THON Phenomenon

Assembling a committed team of fundraisers in less than a month, Pennsylvania College of Technology students are now part of Penn State’s THON fight against pediatric cancer.

Echoing the rallying cry of “For the kids,” nearly 30 members of the Penn College Benefiting THON student organization volunteered for the season’s first weekend of “canning” (Sept. 27-29). Canning involves members standing alongside well-traveled area streets, carrying canisters to collect donations from passing cars and pedestrians.

The college is a special mission affiliate of Penn State, where THON – the world’s largest student-run philanthropy – is based.

Penn College students canning for THON in late September are, from left, Karissa Kulp, a health information technology major from Boyertown; and Claudia N. Naylor and Rebecca F. Thompson, both dental hygiene: health policy and administration concentration majors from Littlestown.

Penn College students canning for THON in late September are, from left, Karissa Kulp, a health information technology major from Boyertown; and Claudia N. Naylor and Rebecca F. Thompson, both dental hygiene: health policy and administration concentration majors from Littlestown.

Even though the Penn College chapter was only five days old at the start of that kickoff weekend, its members raised more than $8,500 in South Williamsport, Montoursville, Loyalsock Township and Danville. Canning continued Oct. 18-20, when an additional $1,682 was collected, and will conclude Nov. 8-10.

One-hundred percent of money raised is donated to THON.

Penn College's Wildcat mascot and Daniel J. Ferretti, a paramedic technician major from Pocono Lake, join the THON fundraising effort last month along Loyalsock Township's Golden Strip.

Penn College’s Wildcat mascot and Daniel J. Ferretti, a paramedic technician major from Pocono Lake, join the THON fundraising effort last month along Loyalsock Township’s Golden Strip.

“It has been an absolutely amazing time, and we are all realizing how much of an impact we are making as a team,” noted Madeline A. Lusk, a physician assistant major from State College and co-chair of the Penn College group.

During the year, groups of students throughout the Penn State system organize events and go canning to raise money for the Four Diamonds Fund. In February, all of the groups come together in the Bryce Jordan Center in University Park for a 46-hour dance marathon that is packed with fun activities and inspiring stories from families that have benefited from the fund.

Tyler C. Knabb, a Penn State student riding his bicycle 900-plus miles for a related charity, takes a lunch break with Penn College Benefiting THON members on Oct. 24. Students met with Knabb in the Keystone Dining Room, offering him sustenance and encouragement for the remainder of his trip.

Tyler C. Knabb, a Penn State student riding his bicycle 900-plus miles for a related charity, takes a lunch break with Penn College Benefiting THON members on Oct. 24. Students met with Knabb in the Keystone Dining Room, offering him sustenance and encouragement for the remainder of his trip.

More than 15,000 students across Pennsylvania are estimated to annually participate in THON. Last year alone, students collected $12.37 million for the Four Diamonds Fund and, since the dance marathon’s inception in 1977, have raised more than $100 million.

The Four Diamonds Fund works with the Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital to cover any medical costs of pediatric cancer patients that are not met by health insurance. The fund also provides emotional support to families: counselors, social workers, music therapists and other specialists allied in the battle against cancer.

Students meet with Knabb in the Keystone Dining Room, offering him sustenance and encouragement for the remainder of his trip – a heart-shaped route that will take him to 11 Penn State campuses.

Students meet with Knabb in the Keystone Dining Room, offering him sustenance and encouragement for the remainder of his trip – a heart-shaped route that will take him to 11 Penn State campuses.

“Although Penn College has just begun its journey to THON 2014, our students have already shown an outpouring of support,” Lusk said. “The group is hopeful that, through raising funds and awareness and providing support to children and their families, pediatric cancer will one day be eradicated.”

Multiple local fundraisers are planned for the coming months, including a 5K Jingle Jog in late November.

Checks can be made payable to Penn State Dance Marathon – with “Penn College 1361” written on the memo line – and sent to Penn State Dance Marathon Finance, 210 HUB, University Park, PA 16802.

Interested donors can also visit the THON Web page, click “Donate Now” and select Penn College as their organization of choice.

For information about the college, email the Admissions Office or call toll-free 800-367-9222.

Photos by Meghan C. Cunningham, secretary, Penn College Benefiting THON, and a general studies student from Williamsport;
and Craig R. Urey, student photographer

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