February 19, 2012 at 4:36 PM
The Interfraternity Council/Panhellenic Dance Marathon exceeded expectations Sunday afternoon when THON Overalls revealed this year’s total fundraising effort as a record-breaking $10,686,924.83.
THON participants showed that nothing can stop them from fighting to cure pediatric cancer.
Compared to a total of $9,563,016.09 in 2011 and more than $7.8 million in 2010, this year's total kept THON's 40-year tradition of breaking barriers alive.
Many THON participants said recent events, including the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse case and the cancelation of one of four scheduled canning trips due to inclement weather, made fundraising difficult this year.
“Obviously it’s a tough year with the canning issues and the scandal,” Morale Committee member Gabi Donchez said.
Donchez (junior-marketing) said that the growth of the total shows not only the Penn State community, but the entire world that “despite any setbacks, we will never stop fighting.”
A packed Bryce Jordan Center watched in awe as THON broke last year's fundraising total of more that $9.5 million just 20 years after reaching $1 million for the very first time.
Sigma Alpha Mu dancer Zachary Macht (senior-supply chain management) said he thinks the fundraising growth may be due to contributions made in honor of the late football coach Joe Paterno, as well as the extended outreach of THON, both within the campus and surrounding geographical areas.
“I’m from West Chester, New York,” he said. “I never saw canners in my neighborhood before, but now that I’m a senior, they’re there.”
Macht said he believes the negativity surrounding the university's recent events did not hinder the growth of the largest student-run philanthropy in the world. Instead, the increased recognition and support of others is what keeps THON growing every year, he said.
Though the Bryce Jordan Center erupted with the reveal of such a landmark, students understand they are there first and foremost “For the Kids.”
“It might seem weird to outsiders, but it’s about the emotional support we can bring to these families,” Public Relations Overall Kirsten Quisenberry (senior-public relations) said. “THON is about the families first and foremost, and about making sure no one has to go through the battle alone.”