February 15, 2013 at 5:57 PM
When we think of college, we often associate it with reckless milestones and wild antics.
But for Penn State students, the next 46 hours don't reflect what might typically be expected.
Students from every Penn State campus of every year, freshmen to alumni, come out for a cause bigger than themselves. In the fight to discontinue pediatric cancer, THON joins organizations all around the east coast to save lives.
Families have come out from all around to be a part of the cause and continue the legacy of the lives saved and lost.
“Our daughter passed away before she could come, so now we come every year in her honor,” Tammy Cope, of York, said. ”We’ve been coming for three years now.”
THON is special not because it’s the largest student-run philanthropy organization in the world and not because it’s fun.
THON is special because it helps, Cope said.
“It’s unbelievable,” Cope said.
Cope said that the Four Diamonds Fund helped alleviate stress and take a huge weight off of her and her family when her daughter was diagnosed with cancer.
"Four Diamonds helped take a huge weight off of our shoulders with our daughter so that we had less to worry about,” Cope said.
Kristin Puckley said that THON was with them all the time when their son, Jedd Smith was diagnosed with cancer.
Puckley said that when her son died, “there were loads of THON kids at his service.”
“We’ve been going for six years,” Puckley said. “It was Jedd’s favorite place to be.”
But not only does THON allow for college students to commemorate those that have been lost in the struggle to fight cancer, it brings awareness to those who have won the fight.
“This is my two-year anniversary, I’ll be completely done this year,” survivor Bree Taylor said.
Taylor has been coming to THON for three years and is excited every time.
The most amazing aspect of THON for Taylor is not only the ability catharsis that it brings in regards to dealing with cancer, but the selfless commitment of the students to fight for something bigger than themselves.
“Everyone’s here for the kids,” Taylor said. “All the focus is on them.”
Peg Chapman, of Abington, said that when Four Diamonds came to her and said that they would pay for her daughter Gabrielle’s treatment she couldn’t believe it.
“I said, ‘what do you want’ and they said ‘nothing, we’re here to help you,' ” Chapman said.
So at Penn State, the college experience isn't all partying or wreckless behavior.
“Everything they show about college kids is bad,” Chapman said. “This is what they should be showing.”