Igniting Hope Within: THON 2017 Theme Description

Penn State students are unlike any other, and just as THON has ignited a selfless pursuit for compassion in our hearts, it has also ignited a community with a sense of purpose for a greater good. There are a thousand different individual reasons for why we fight, and a hundred variations of the same message, but at the end of the day, our core mission stays the same. We have hope that we can do something that will help the families overcome their struggle and return the deserved ability for kids to be kids. We have hope that one day no child will have to battle cancer. This is what equates THON with hope. A lot of people think hope is some abstract, concept. But in reality, hope is powerful. Hope is optimism for the future. Hope is knowing that despite all the challenges, despite all the obstacles we encounter, we will be successful in our fight.

This hope ignited within each of us, and the hope ignited within our organization as a whole, is the driving force behind the tangible steps we are taking to find a cure for childhood cancer. When we realize and appreciate how tremendously powerful this hope is, there is nothing that can stop us. That hope catches fire within. It provides happiness and sanity. 16,500 individuals will work this year to provide that everlasting support to the families and children affected by childhood cancer. 16,500 volunteers igniting hope within our community, and this year more than ever, we are igniting hope within our organization to spread awareness, support the families, and engage more individuals than ever before. It is up to us to provide a ray of sunshine and source of hope as we fight for the days that every child deserves to see.

Igniting Hope Within isn’t something new to THON 2017. This is an action we have engaged in for years, and one that we will always aspire to continue. Hope is concurrently definite and ambiguous. It typically expresses a desired outcome without knowledge of whether it will ever truly come to fruition.  But with growth and dedication, hope becomes the future. The ignition not only represents a call to action, but a ripple effect – for once the flame is lit, it spreads, consumes, and burns brightly.

The most beautiful thing that we are able to do as an organization, however, is incite a hope within the kids. They are fighting each and every day, a battle many of us will never fight, while igniting hope that one day we will dance in celebration. Each member of the THON community should light the fire inside them to continue igniting hope within themselves, within the organization, within the families, and most importantly, igniting hope within the kids. Ultimately, the truth is, it is the kids who inspire hope within the students, pushing volunteers to do everything they can in support of their fight. Without hope, where would they be in their fight? Where would we be in this fight? It is now our duty to ignite that hope within our community; to show them that with hope, we can put an end to this disease.

Hope cannot be shattered by reality, suppressed by opinions, or dismayed by obstacles. Hope is euphoria; something deep inside of us that wakes us up every morning. It is the butterflies in our stomach, the excitement in our voice, the wonder in our eyes. When you step foot on Penn State’s campus, you see thousands of different kinds of people. You see students of all ages, genders, ethnicities, backgrounds, and histories. People who are unalike in a hundred different ways but somehow, bound together by one thing; hope. Hope that a group of 16,500 individual volunteers can take strides toward curing childhood cancer.