Since THON began in 1973, it has continued to escalate in fundraising efforts, and this year was no exception.
On Sunday afternoon, the Interfraternity Council/Panhellenic Dance Marathon announced it had raised $12,374,034.46 for the fight against pediatric cancer. The record-breaking total also signified that THON had raised more than $100 million for the Four Diamonds Fund since it started donating to the charity in the 1970s.
For families of the Four Diamonds Fund, the money means research to find cures and the hope that one day, families don’t have to hear their child has cancer.
Kristin Pastva, Four Diamonds child Dustin Beaver’s sister, said the total meant “life and celebration.” The money symbolizes a future for children who are diagnosed with cancer in the years to come, she said.
For the students, the total serves as the finish line for all the efforts throughout the year.
Independent dancer Hannah Album said this weekend was an emotional roller-coaster for her. Being on the floor gave her a new perspective of THON and allowed her to see all the efforts that actually go into this weekend, she said.
Album added that the total was not something she was worried about.
“I’m so proud to have been a part of THON and to raise money and make a difference in a child’s life,” Album (senior-journalism) said.
After the big reveal, the Four Diamonds Fund becomes the sole beneficiary of all the proceeds, THON Overall Finance Chairwoman Jennifer Stipa said. The money is then divided up to cover the experimental therapeutics fund, patient care providers, research institute, research grants, patient/family support, administrative expenses and scholarships, Stipa said.
According to the 2010-11 fiscal year chart, 74 percent, or $10,500,000, went to experimental therapeutics fund. Two percent, or $346,773, went to the families to cover costs that their insurance does not, she said. The remaining percentages go toward funding research that might one day find a cure for pediatric cancer, Stipa said.
This year, THON organizers are proud of all the hard work that students have done to help them reach their goal, she said.
“THON 2013 has seen outstanding dedication from 15,000 volunteers this year,” Stipa (senior-accounting) said. “The THON community has worked hard to provide outstanding emotional and financial support to the children, families, researchers and staff of the Four Diamonds Fund.”
THON Overall Chairman Will Martin said seeing the total being revealed came with a great sense of pride, representing all the efforts that made the total possible. Because Martin was privy to the total before it was officially revealed, he said it was hard to not let it slip.
“We were all in disbelief and don’t know how to react,” Martin (senior-communications sciences and disorders) said.
Martin added that this year the organization saw a record number of webcast views. But one challenge the committee faced was capacity issues, he said. While the number of volunteers was great, it definitely made the weekend a bit challenging, he said. It is something that the organization will have to work on for next year, he said.
“I’m looking forward to coming back next year and seeing THON just continue to grow and fight,” Martin said.