Since my first day of involvement, I have been amazed by what the THON Community can do to bring smiles to the faces of children and families battling childhood cancer. Today, I am incredibly thankful for the opportunity to spend another year alongside themost incredible group of dedicated volunteers in pursuit of a cure. My name is Austin Sommerer and I am the Executive Director for the 2017 Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon. What this organization is able to accomplish year after year is largely because of the generous supporters, donors, alumni, and volunteers like you. With your help, we have been able to support Four Diamonds for 40 years, and for that, we thank you.
The relationships formed between students, children, and families have proven to transcend any monetary amount.
The Penn State Dance Marathon is a yearlong fundraising and awareness campaign for the fight against childhood cancer, with more than 15,000 students volunteers involved each year. Our yearlong efforts culminate during a 46 hour no-sitting, no-sleeping dance marathon held in February; however, THON’s impact reaches well beyond these46 hours and impacts the lives of thousands throughout the year. With each event, our students have the unique opportunity to create relationships with those we benefit, building a beautiful network of support and outlet for hope. Together, we have outgrown three buildings, increased our fundraising capacity from $2,136 in 1973, and have become the largest student run philanthropy in the world. In 2016 alone, the THON community was able to raise $9,770,332.32 For The Kids, but the relationships formed between students, children, and families have proven to transcend any monetary amount.
In the 40 years since THON has partnered with our sole beneficiary, not one eligible patient being treated for childhood cancer has been turned away from the financial and emotional support offered by Four Diamonds. Each day, the doctors, nurses, and staff of Penn State Children’s Hospital provide the highest level of comfort and comprehensive treatment to these patients and their families, earning them the recognition as oneof the top 50 hospitals in the nation for childhood cancer care. Through several research endowments, Four Diamonds actively funds innovative and groundbreaking research for pediatric cancer, making Penn State Children’s Hospital part of the Cancer Oncology Group (COG) and the Pediatric Oncology Experimental Therapeutics Investigators Consortium (POETIC), taking our mission beyond Pennsylvania and spreading hope around the world.
With your help, we will continue to fight for the day that no parent has to hear the words, “your child has cancer.” Seeing THON surrounded by such passionate people is inspiring, as it takes each and every student, volunteer, alumnus, donor, and supporter to spread awareness of THON’s mission across the country. Thank you for your dedication and support of THON, and together, we will make a difference in the life of a child.
For The Kids, For The Fight,
THON 2017 Executive Director