Thousands shed tears of joy, watching the 2014 THON executive directors raise what were more than just numbers to the participants of the world’s largest student-run philanthropy.
Redefining possibilities was the goal of the 42nd annual Penn State Interfraternity Council/Panhellenic Dance Marathon and as the 46-hour weekend came to a close, $13,343,517.33 was raised for the Four Diamonds Fund. The total broke last year’s record-setting $12,374,034.46 and climbed the collective total raised to more than $113 million.
Many described the moment as “magical” when thousands in the Bryce Jordan Center fell silent and their eyes settled on the stage with “Redefine the Possibilities” hanging behind the scene.
“This is more than $13 million worth of care and research that will happen in the next year to take care of kids that have cancer and their families,” Four Diamonds Fund Director Suzanne Graney said. “This lets researchers continue in their work to find a cure for cancer and relieves the financial pressures of the families who are in battle.”
Graney said THON as a whole is everyone “enveloped in love,” and the students involved are applauded by the Four Diamonds Fund.
The Four Diamonds Fund is thankful for everything Penn State does for the organization, she said, adding that the money THON raises allows families and physicians to give children the best care possible.
As he left his 37th THON, Four Diamonds Fund co-founder Charles Millard said he believes at this point in Penn State’s philanthropic work, especially with social media, there aren’t any limits.
“This started in bake sales and sub sales — but it’s astounding the way THON has grown,” Millard said at a press conference following THON. “This organization is one of a kind in the world, and that’s impressive. Forget the United States, it’s the world.”
The total left 2014 Morale Director Brian Dunn speechless as he tried to come to terms with what he was just a part of.
Dunn said he is proud to be a part of THON and the Four Diamonds Fund, adding the amount of money raised was “beyond incredible.”
Whether or not the previous year’s total would have been broken, Dunn said whatever amount of money that’s raised for the kids is everything that matters.
Between the total amount raised and everything else that goes into the 46-hour weekend, Executive Director Ryan Patrick said THON 2014 was “extremely successful,” during a post-THON press conference.
Patrick (senior-mechanical engineering) said he was happy that everything ran smoothly and he and the rest of his executive directors set a stable foundation for years to come.
“One day, cooperatively as one team,” Graney said. “We’ll conquer childhood cancer.”
Gabriella Santoliquito can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (814) 865-1828. Follow her on Twitter at @gmsanto3.