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THON weekend kicks off at Penn State

Updated: Friday, February 21 2014, 09:11 PM EST

By: Lauren Hensley

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.--It is THON weekend at Penn State. Since THON started 42 years ago, thousands of Penn State students have worked together to raise more than $101 million. All of that money is going to the Four Diamonds Fund in the fight against pediatric cancer.

When the clock struck 6, more than 15,000 people busted a move at the Bryce Jordan Center. It is a fundraiser like no other, a 46-hour dance marathon at Penn State University called THON.  Since it started 42 years ago, Penn State students have worked to raise millions of dollars.   All of that money is going to the Four Diamonds Fund, in the fight against pediatric cancer and it is helping children just like Dominique Bigler defeat the disease.

“I have synovial sarcoma, and I was 13 when I was diagnosed and I relapsed five times but right now I am currently on a chemotherapy that has shrunk my tumor by 50 percent in a month, so I am going really good right now,” Bigler said.

Crystal Bryan was one also in a similar position; she was diagnosed with cancer at age 11.  She is a survivor and now a mother of 3three. She wants her children to understand what THON is all about.

“There is no better support system than this. It is Happy Valley for a reason, they don't look at you because you are sick or not sick or because you are friends of a sick person, they look at you for you and that's what they love,” Bryan said.

Students put countless hours into fundraising for THON.  But, it’s much more than the bottom line; it is about caring and understanding for the sick children.  Molly Lichtenwalner shaved off all of her hair last week to show her solidarity with the cause.

“It has been incredible, I am so happy I did it. I have had nothing but great support from everyone and I did it for the kids here, so I am excited to show the kids it this weekend,” Lichtenwalner said.

Organizers said THON weekend provides an outlet for the children affected by cancer to forget about their illnesses.  The event ends Sunday with the big reveal of the total money raised for THON 2014.


THON weekend kicks off at Penn State


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