The Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon opens its doors at the Bryce Jordan Center tonight, and organizers have been hard at work preparing for the 46-hour, no-sleep and all-dance fundraiser to fight pediatric cancer.
The festivities kicked off Thursday evening with a 135-mile run to the Jordan Center from Penn State Hershey Medical Center by a group of runners with The Hope Express. They will arrive at the Jordan Center on Friday before Thon starts, another avenue of fundraising for the Four Diamonds Fund that helps pediatric cancer families financially.
All week, organizers have been meeting together and with other organizations to prepare for the weekend, said Dana Giacobello, Thon public relations director.
“We had several meetings with the BJC leading up to the event that involve every aspect of the event, from starting to set it up at 4:45 Friday morning to tearing it down after the total is revealed around 4:15 on Sunday afternoon,” Giacobello said.
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Every committee has a different responsibility to prepare for Thon weekend, Giacobello said. There are 14 committees in which students assist in the planning and execution of Thon events.
For WiFi, Giacobello said the Thon technology director has been working with AT&T to improve the network connection in all parts of the BJC.
Giacobello said Thon doesn’t set a fundraising goal every year. Thee goal is to educate volunteers on how to fundraise in safe and effective ways.
“Every dollar we raise for the Four Diamonds Fund is important,” Giacobello said.
Thon raised $12.3 million last year and has raised more than $101 million since its inception in 1977, Giacobello said.
“Thon is unique in that it is able to bring together Penn State students, university contacts and community members all for one cause,” Giacobello said. “It gives the community and university the opportunity to work together to make a child and his or her family undergoing pediatric cancer treatment a haven away from the hospital.”