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THON

By 2014 Legacy Awards Recipient and Elks Scholar Advisory Board Member Anji Radakrishnan

Anji Radakrishnan, 2014 Legacy scholar and freshmen representative on the Elks Scholar Advisory Board, is giving us a glimpse into life as a college freshmen. Join her each month as she blogs about her exciting new challenges and experiences at Penn State. 


I had heard for months from the upperclassmen that THON weekend would be the most life-changing experience that I would have at Penn State. Even though my expectations were set so incredibly high, THON bypassed all of them. THON is a 46 hour no-sitting, no-sleeping dance marathon that raises money for the treatment of pediatric cancer. All of the funds go to the Four Diamonds Fund at Hershey Children’s Hospital. Each organization sponsors a THON child from a Four Diamonds family who has defeated or is battling cancer.

Months of preparation go into this celebratory weekend. During the year, there are three canning trips, during which all the members of each organization that participates travel to a nearby location. The canning trip that I went on was to Bridgewater, N.J., and over the course of the weekend, I became closer to my canning partners and the rest of my organization—South Asian Student Association. We stood outside storefronts and went door-to-door informing people about THON and our mission to conquer pediatric cancer.  Additionally, there were tables at the HUB, a central location on our campus, that sold jewelry and trinkets to raise funds. What started back in 1977 as a way to raise awareness has now flourished into the largest student-run philanthropy in the entire
world.

Four Diamonds families and children come to THON every year in order to celebrate the beauty of life and have a chance to enjoy a normal weekend. We play with the kids, dance to music, and have water gun fights. Although students generally stay with their THON orgs during the weekend, we all share the same compassion and love for our children, especially those that are enduring the hardest struggles of their lives. During the final four hours before 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, the survivors and children came to the stage to tell their stories. They expressed immense gratitude for how Four Diamonds has changed their lives. I am incredibly blessed to be able to share in the pride that every Penn State student has—we raised $13,026,653.23 for the kids!

What causes are you passionate about on your campus? Comment below!

Anjithaa Radakrishnan
Elks Scholar Advisory Board Freshman Representative
Pennsylvania State University


  

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