READING, Pa. -- "Berks benefitting THON," the Penn State Berks student group that works tirelessly to raise funds and awareness throughout the year for THON, will receive the NAACP–Reading branch’s Community Impact Youth Award at its Freedom Fund Gala on Saturday, Oct. 24, at the Abraham Lincoln Hotel in Reading.
“The THON students were chosen for their dedication and commitment to helping the lives of children,” said Adriane Hoke, secretary of the NAACP–Reading branch and chair of the Freedom Fund. “Their enthusiasm while on the streets collecting money is a true delight to see. There is no other group that deserves this award more than the students representing Penn State Berks benefitting THON.”
In 2015, Berks benefitting THON raised a record $74,568 in support of THON, ranking third among all Penn State campuses for fundraising events and activities throughout the year. These efforts culminate in the yearly 46-hour, no-sitting, no-sleeping dance marathon to benefit the Four Diamonds Fund, which supports families battling pediatric cancer, held at the Bryce Jordan Center. The grand total raised by all the campuses for THON 2015 was $13,026,653.
For the first time in its history of participation in THON, Penn State Berks was invited to send five student “dancers” to represent the campus in February 2015. Previously, Penn State Berks has sent three to four dancers to the University Park campus to dance in THON.
According to Alexa Wojciechowski, staff adviser to the Berks benefitting THON student organization, this is a milestone for the group. The decision to allow five dancers was based on Penn State Berks raising a record $70,089 for THON prior to the dance marathon in February 2014.
Berks benefitting THON begins its fundraising efforts in the fall with fundraising nights at local restaurants, late-night skating events at the Body Zone Sports and Wellness Complex, fashion shows, Cuts for Kids events with the help of local salons, blood drives, dances, a pie-in-the-face fundraiser, and Vera Bradley/sports bingo, as well as weekend canning drives throughout the community where students collect funds in cans from community members.
Short for the Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon, THON is a yearlong effort to raise funds and awareness for the fight against pediatric cancer. THON's fundraising helps offset the cost of a child's cancer treatment and helps establish research endowments aimed at increasing the cure rates of pediatric cancer treatments.