February 17, 2013 at 6:31 PM
THON's total includes contributions from a variety of organizations and individuals. The top fundraisers in several categories are listed below.
Fraternities and sororities:
Alpha Tau Omega and Zeta Tau Alpha - $367,452.77
Lambda Chi Alpha and Alpha Sigma Alpha - $288,429.13
Sigma Chi and Alpha Omicron Pi - $239,149.27
Acacia and Gamma Phi Beta - $195,897.11
Pi Kappa Phi and Alpha Chi Omega - $181,017.09
Delta Chi & Kappa Kappa Gamma - $163,504.52
Sigma Alpha Epsilon & Pi Beta Phi - $148,951.65
Kappa Delta Rho & Sigma Delta Tau - $146,182.67
Theta Delta Chi & Alpha Delta Pi - $131,341.43
Sigma Alpha Mu & Chi Omega - $123,894.87
Special interest organizations:
Atlas THON - $559,358.48
Ohana - $238,259.59
Springfield - $170,311.16
Apollo - $121,519.76
Pillar - $108,146.79
FOTO - $93,375.47
H.E.A.L. (Help Every Angel Live) - $72,185.64
Tri-State - $51,166.17
Trilogy - $40,736.19
A-7 - $36,349.46
Altoona - $98,655.51
Fayette - $85,969.09
Harrisburg - $53,186.51
Berks - $50,158.98
Behrend - $43,569.68
New Kensington - $43,539.33
Schuylkill - $43,447.69
Abington - $34,010.22
Lehigh Valley - $33,707.56
Mont Alto - $33,363.87
College of Earth and Mineral Sciences - $92,481.23
Phi Chi Theta - $82,590.72
Phi Gamma Nu - $80,745.17
Alpha Kappa Psi - $73,530.82
Mens and Womens Club Lacrosse - $64,623.81
Club Swim Team - $61,286.07
Boulevard - $60,688.25
Student Athlete Advisory Board (SAAB) - $58,335.72
IST - $56,512.79
Professional Golf Management Student Society (PGMSS) - $55,948.91
February 17, 2013 at 3:52 PM
As the end of THON approaches, a special video was shown to the dancers.
This video included Bon Jovi member Richie Sambora, as Bon Jovi is set to come to Penn State next week. He announced that any Four Diamonds Family that wants to go to the concert can -- for free.
February 17, 2013 at 3:40 PM
After an emotional Family Hour in the Bryce Jordan Center, the lights dimmed as Go Go Gadjet took the stage.
Performing at its sixth THON, the band had everyone in attendance moving and singing along with the music. Those in attendance displayed their signs in support of the Interfraternity Council/Panhellenic Dance Marathon, greek life, dancers and sports.
Go Go Gadjet opened up with a cover of "I Cry," by Flo Rida, followed with "Pound the Alarm," by Nicki Minaj.
On the floor, dancers went strong to the music, passing beach balls across the floor and pushing through the last hour of THON.
The band's next song, a cover of "Locked Out of Heaven" by Bruno Mars, echoed through the BJC as people sang along. They continued to sing along to Fall Out Boy's "Sugar, We're Going Down."
Then, the BJC's crowd erupted with excitement as Go Go Gadjet pulled out a Penn State guitar and played "I'm Shipping Up to Boston," by Dropkick Murphys. The stands shook, as those in attendance jumped to the beat of the song.
Go Go Gadjet kept up the momentum with its following songs, including "Don't You Worry Child," by Swedish House Mafia, where the band left the crowd to sing the chorus, as they danced along. During the song, the crowd and band showed their Four Diamond signs in the air in support of THON.
Following, the band members sang "Beauty and a Beat" by Justin Bieber and Nicki Minaj. To capture the attention of the girls in the audience, lead singer Jeff Tomrell said Go Go Gadjet decided to perform "Brokenhearted" by Karmin next.
Tomrell called for the Nittany Lion to do the "We Are Penn State" chant usually heard at Penn State football games. The crowd followed along, and just as the chants were going strong, Tomrell paused with the Nittany Lion to make a video, following the recent internet sensation: The Harlem Shake.
Go Go Gadjet closed its show with a request for all the kids to join them on the stage.
"This is your stage, go on and take it," Tomrell said.
February 17, 2013 at 3:17 PM
For possibly the first time this THON weekend, the Bryce Jordan Center fell silent during Family Hour, an hour where THON families share their stories.
One family, the Mortons, talked about the loss of their son, Teddy, who lost his battle with cancer when he was only 127 days old.
"We may have lost our child to cancer, but our story is not one of death, but of life. A life of 127 days," his mother, Gina, said to the crowd.
Another family, the Whitehead family, stood on stage with their daughter, Emily, 7, and talked about their experiences with the Interfraternity Council/Panhellenic Dance Marathon.
"We aren't sure of what will happen with Emily tomorrow, but we've all heard you say that someday we will dance with celebration, and for our family, that day is today," her father, Tom, said.
Following the talks, each THON family was presented on stage. Afterward, a video of those who lost their battle with cancer left THON attendees in tears.
February 17, 2013 at 2:13 PM
Each year, THON has continued to top the previous total raised, and this year is no exception, with THON topping the charts at $12,374,034.46.
Last year, THON raised $10,686,924.83.
Tears of joy stream down faces, as dancers and Interfraternity Council/Panhellenic Dance Marathon attendees hug one another in celebration of their accomplishments. But for most of the students and Four Diamonds Families, the total didn’t matter to them.
Atlas family member Stephanie Smith said the total didn’t matter to them, rather seeing how much the students' hard work paid off in the end was important.
“We are just grateful for everything the students have done and are very proud of their efforts,” Smith said.
Kim Sterner, a dancer for Altoona, said she wasn't surprised that the total was higher.
"Penn State is always striving to do better and to make their goals a reality," Sterner (sophomore-kinesiology) said, adding that dancing this year is a "once in a lifetime" opportunity and an incredible journey.
February 17, 2013 at 1:51 PM
Before the families took the stage to tell their stories, head football coach Bill O'Brien talked about THON and the Penn State community.
"I was here a year ago, and I was a rookie," O'Brien said. "I didn't know too much about it, but I understood the importance of it."
Over the past year, O'Brien said he has been reading about THON, and after doing his research, found out what THON is all about.
"First, the families -- and, most importantly, the children -- are a tremendous inspiration to us at Penn State," O'Brien said.
He then talked about Charles Millard and his family, the founders of the Four Diamonds Fund.
"To me, that's what Penn State is all about, those four words: wisdom, courage, honesty and strength," he said. "If there's one thing that I've learned in the past year at Penn State, it's that's what we're all about."
Though the crowd was enthused for the majority of his speech, it was silenced, when O'Brien mentioned there were three hours left of THON.
Over the last few months, O'Brien said people have thanked him, the football team and the coaching staff for their hard work, but he wanted to thank those involved with THON.
"In my opinion, this is the greatest university in the country, and in the world, because of this event here," O'Brien said. "This is fourth quarter, so we have to start this now. We have to push."
February 17, 2013 at 11:57 AM
All the way from Los Angeles, Kait Weston performed for the second time during THON.
Covering hits like "As Long as You Love Me" by Justin Bieber and "Price Tag" by Jessie J, Weston had those in attendance at the BJC singing along.
For her cover of "What Makes You Beautiful" by One Direction, Weston brought up a child at THON named Charlie.
Weston also sang a few original songs of hers, and she also talked about how supportive of THON she is.
"You guys inspired me so much," Weston said. "I wanted to let everyone here know that you are doing something so amazing."
February 17, 2013 at 11:53 AM
With not a lot of time remaining, the most anticipated part of THON -- besides the reveal of the final total raised -- is Family Hour.
Dancers know the end is near when the Four Diamonds families take the stage and share their stories.
Mark Rodas (sophomore–business management) said Family Hour is the most emotional part of the THON experience. The Phi Sigma Kappa member added that his organization uses it as inspiration for next year’s THON.
“[Family Hour] is the reason why we work all year on this,” Rodas said.
Delta Chi member Alec Shelowitz said he is most interested to hear the personal stories that will be told. Shelowitz said this will be the first THON where he will see the hour in person.
Others said they use the hour as a bonding experience.
February 17, 2013 at 11:05 AM
As the second variety show began this morning around 10 a.m., many kids went on stage to show the crowd their talents.
One pair of sisters, Katie and Sydney Bush, each performed a song to those in attendance at the Bryce Jordan Center.
Katie, 14, sang "I Miss You" by Miley Cyrus, dedicating it to her aunt and cousin. At moments, Katie teared up, but had her sister and committee members there to support her.
Sydney, 8, then took the stage with "Call Me Maybe" by Carly Rae Jepsen.
Other acts included more singing acts and dancing to *NSYNC music. Jacob and Ella Trimble showed off their hula hooping skills.
Tucker Haas, 7, and Taylor Haas, 4, had a duet of the song "Beauty and a Beat" by Justin Bieber and Nicki Minaj, while Dylan Moser put his own spin on Taylor Swift's "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together."
"Cancer," he said, "we are never, ever getting back together, like, ever."
Jan Stouffer and the Four Diamonds Fund performed a group song to the tune of "Home" by Phil Phillips and "Rockin' Robin" by the Jackson 5, inserting their own lyrics about THON and the Four Diamonds Fund.
Following, Erin Hawk sang "I'll Stand by You" by The Pretenders, and the crowd swayed and sang along with her.
The kids seemed like they couldn't get enough of chanting "We Are... Penn State" after their performances, and the crowd in the BJC loudly chanted with them.
February 17, 2013 at 9:54 AM
With the reveal of this year's THON total nearing, many have said that it's not about beating previous years' totals.
"It doesn't matter to me how much money is raised because in the end, it's all going to a great cause, and that's all that matters," Mike Sessa said. Sessa's daughter, Melanie, is this year's overall morale chairperson.
Sessa said it would be like getting 100 dollars on your birthday one year, and 90 the next -- either way you would be happy.
But Mike Powers said he had no doubt that this year would beat last year's total, he said. Powers's daughter, Cat, is this years overall public relations chairperson.
When asked how he could be so sure with his response, he said "I just know it."