Earlier this month more than 700 Penn State students turned the Bryce Jordan Center into a 46-hour dance marathon raising $10,621,683 helping the Four Diamonds Fund support more than 4,000 families in their battle with pediatric cancer. Originated in 1973 the annual event is the largest student-run philanthropy in the world having now raised 167-million
Earlier this month more than 700 Penn State students turned the Bryce Jordan Center into a 46-hour dance marathon raising $10,621,683 helping the Four Diamonds Fund support more than 4,000 families in their battle with pediatric cancer. Originated in 1973 the annual event is the largest student-run philanthropy in the world having now raised 167-million over the years.
While smaller in scope this Friday, March 1 South Williamsport High School students will conduct their 8th annual Mini-Thon, dedicating the fund-raiser to two of their own students battling childhood cancer.
“This year we are dedicating our Mini-Thon to two of our own South Williamsport students and honoring them for what they are going through. For Elliott Storms and Olivia Rogers and their families this is a very difficult time in their lives and we want to support them and give love where it is needed and help them in a positive way,” explained Mike Rodgers, a social studies teacher at the high school and South Williamsport Mini-Thon Club advisor. “We talked it over with our club members and everyone was on board with honoring them this year.”
“The sole beneficiary of our Mini-Thon is the Four Diamonds Fund which is affiliated with Penn State’s Children’s Hospital. The money we raise goes there and it used not only for cancer research, but a large percent goes to helping the families with costs during their child’s treatment. The funds pay the family bills directly during the treatment period so they can focus on their own family and getting them through the difficulties they are experiencing.”
“This is the eighth year for our Mini-Thon,” Rodgers added. “It was started by Ryan Carper, a teacher at the high school. He had seen what Penn State was doing in raising money and saw the opportunity to make a difference and get our kids involved in a really neat way. During our first seven years we have raised just over $179,000.”
The club has added a personal touch in their recognition of Storms and Rogers club member Tripp Breen explained.
“We asked Elliott and Olivia what their favorite colors were and since we will be honoring them we will be wearing t-shirts in their favorite colors; blue for Elliott and purple for Olivia.”
“The past two years we’ve been focusing on trying to get the community more involved, rather than just the students and the school district,” said Sam Livorno, club president. I joined Mini-Thon my freshman year, mainly because a lot of my friends had also joined. Since then I’ve gotten more involved. Last year I was the treasurer and I’ve put a lot of effort towards it. This year I was elected president so now I am happy I can just keep going forward and put more energy in the things I’d like to see the club accomplish.”
Fellow Mini-Thon club members Breen, Tayge Molino and Alex Tsikitas share Livorno’s passion.
“Like Sam, I joined the club my freshman year. It seemed like a pretty good cause. Since then I’ve been upgrading positions by devoting more time and helping out as much as I can,” Breen said.
“For me, I was hospitalized a couple of times for different reasons and I could see some of the kids being treated for cancer,” Molino reflected. “Their rooms would always be full of posters and pictures and it looked like they had been there awhile. Seeing that, I always wanted to make sure they felt as comfortable as possible and to know that there are people behind them supporting them.”
“When I was in seventh and eighth grade I participated in the Mini-Thon. Once I was able to join the club in ninth grade I realized that was where I belonged, supporting these kids that are just like me and fighting cancer,” Tsikitas emphasized. “It was something I wanted to do and I’ve been getting more involved in the club each year since. I want to help make this event the best possible.”
“Working with this club has definitely been entertaining. They bring a positive energy and make it a lot of fun planning this event, when it could be a lot more stressful than it is.”
The Mini-Thon will take place in the South Williamsport High School gym running from 7:00 pm until 7:00 am. From 7:00 – 10:00 pm there will be community hours when visitors can come in and see what the Mini-Thon is about.
“We’ve put a lot of time and work into what will take place on March 1,” stressed Livorno. “Throughout the whole night it will be a lot of fun. There will be a lot of smiles throughout the whole student body. We’ll have a few new events this year that we think will bring added excitement. By honoring Elliott and Olivia we’ll be united in a whole new way.”
The public is welcomed and invited to attend during the 7:00 – 10:00 pm hours. There will be lots of things to do, games for kids, a raffle with some very nice prizes and food will be available. Donations would certainly be welcomed.
“I would describe the event as just energy and fun,” Rodgers offered. “Even though we are there for 12 hours the night just seems to fly by and we are doing everything we can to raise awareness regarding pediatric cancer and the fight families are going through. It certainly deserves the support of the community.”
- May 22, 2019
- May 22, 2019