Penn State Harrisburg surpasses THON fundraising goal
Penn State Harrisburg student volunteers raised $53,186.51 for THON, the Penn State student dance marathon that benefits the Four Diamonds Fund and pediatric cancer patients, families, and researchers at Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital. Totals were announced Feb. 17 at the conclusion of the 46-hour, no sitting, no stopping marathon. The Harrisburg amount eclipsed last year’s by some $22,000 and set a new record for the campus, contributing to THON’s overall total of a record-breaking $12,374,034.46 raised this year.
Students Joe Sadusky, of Fairless Hills, Bucks County, and Hana Suders, of York Haven, were among the 710 dancers on the floor at the Bryce Jordan Center this past weekend. At times weary, the two persevered, thanks in large part to support from their moralers -- students whose job at THON is to keep up dancer morale -- and to energy boosts that come with THON traditions such as the Saturday Pep Rally, Mail Call (when dancers get cards and letters of encouragement), and the hourly Line Dance, a special song choreographed to a mash up of the year’s most popular music.
These, and timely physical breathers such as a leg massage, foot care, or a brief walk around the Jordan Center hallways, help dancers to endure.
About 36 hours in, Suders had blisters, had gotten her sore toes wrapped, had rested each foot on an ice pack, and finally had both of her feet wrapped. At that point, she said, her feet felt like she had just started.
Suders is like most THON participants, motivated simply by the thought of helping children with cancer – “For The Kids” or “FTK,” as the THON motto goes.
“My best friend danced last year, and I was by her side the whole time,” Suders said. “Just seeing that was an amazing experience, and I knew then I wanted to experience it myself.”
Senior Andrew Mather, who last year danced for Penn State Harrisburg and served as the overall co-chair, chose a different role this year. He was the morale chair, coordinating the people and activities designed to keep the dancers going, and helping all of the other committee chairs throughout the year. Though he was reminded that being an organizer can be stressful, at hour 38 he said, “As soon as I see that number [the grand total amount raised, revealed in THON’s final hour] though, all of those emotions will be tempered. When I see that number, it will have all been worth it.”