THON Blog Like us on FacebookFollow us on TwitterFollow us on Pinterest

Director's Message


My name is Ryan Patrick and I am serving as the Executive Director for the 2014 Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon. I am honored to be a part of yet another amazing year full of moments that take our breath away and remind us all that we are making a difference in the lives of the children and their families affected by pediatric cancer. I am most excited to see THON continue reaching unprecedented levels of success because of the hard work and dedication of our students, alumni, faculty, staff, donors and supporters like you. Thank you for everything that you have done and everything you will continue to do for THON and most importantly, for the fight against pediatric cancer.

THON is a year-long, student-led fundraising and awareness effort. It culminates each February in a 46-hour no-sitting, no-sleeping dance marathon in the Bryce Jordan Center. Last year, THON raised $12,374,034.46 for its sole beneficiary, the Four Diamonds Fund, bringing the total amount raised since 1977 to more than $101 million. The driving force behind this incredible number is the more than 15,000 Penn State students that each year give their time and selfless dedication to make a difference “FTK.” Despite the wide range of organizations and large number of volunteers who support THON, these three letters motivate and inspire everyone to work year-round to conquer pediatric cancer.

The relationship between THON and the Four Diamonds Fund has enabled children with cancer, as well as their families, to receive superior care and comprehensive support at the Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital. The Four Diamonds covers the costs of cancer treatment that insurance does not, while also hiring world-class medical specialists to be part of its cancer fighting team. The Four Diamonds has also helped develop nationally and internationally recognized research programs by funding research endowments. Because of these programs, the Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital is part of both the Cancer Oncology Group (COG) and the Pediatric Oncology Experimental Therapeutics Investigators Consortium (POETIC). Alongside other top institutions like Johns Hopkins and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital is able to provide cutting-edge treatment in Phase I and II clinical trials. All of the Four Diamonds’ exciting research that THON supports is bringing us closer to a cure.

It is exciting to watch THON experience unprecedented growth. Supporters from all over the state, and increasingly, all over the country, are vital in spreading awareness about THON’s mission. This growth enables us to make strides in the fight against pediatric cancer. With your continued support, I believe that together we can all dare to imagine a day that no child or parent will ever have to hear the word “cancer” again. Together, we can and will, find a cure.

For The Kids, For The Fight,

Ryan Patrick
THON 2014 Executive Director