Penn State Wilkes-Barre THON dancers and an elevated view of last year's crowded THON dance floor

Penn State Wilkes-Barre students dance for a cure

By: Susan Hales

THON is the largest student-run philanthropy in the world, committed to enhancing the lives of children and families impacted by childhood cancer. THON’s mission is to provide emotional and financial support, spread awareness and ensure funding for critical cancer research—all in pursuit of a cure. Every year, Penn State students across the Commonwealth tackle this vast undertaking in a united front against cancer, with the proceeds going to support Four Diamonds at Penn State Children’s Hospital in Hershey.

Penn State Wilkes-Barre students enthusiastically do their part in the year-long effort to raise money for the cause. This year a variety of fundraisers were organized by the campus THON committee, including raffles, a Zombie 5K Run, a Polar Bear Plunge at Harvey’s Lake, an ice-skate-a-thon, a Strike Out Cancer Bowl-a-THON, Penny Wars, Pasta for the Kids, Haunted Hayfield, and events at both Buffalo Wild Wings and TGI Friday’s.

The annual fundraising effort culminates in a 46-hour university-wide dance marathon (simply called THON), where dancers can’t sit or sleep for the entire duration of the event; more than 700 students from all of the Penn State campuses are selected to be dancers. For 2019, Ashlee Harry, a senior English major and Wilkes-Barre THON chair, and Eric Williams, a senior Surveying Engineering major, represented Penn State Wilkes-Barre at the dance marathon, which ran from Friday, February 15th to Sunday, February 17th. During the event, dancers, student volunteers, Four Diamonds families, and supporters gathered in State College’s Bryce Jordan Center for 46 hours of literally taking a stand against childhood cancer.

At the conclusion of the event, it was announced that during the 2018–2019 academic year, Penn State students had raised an amazing grand total of $10,621,683.76 for Four Diamonds. Congratulations to all of the Penn State Wilkes-Barre students who helped make that a reality!

To learn more about our students’ THON activities and for photos, visit the Penn State Wilkes-Barre Benefitting THON Facebook page. And catch some video of the dance-a-thon in progress.