“The last four hours were a real struggle for me,” said Sarah Bademan (B.S. ENENG ‘13) a Penn State Dance Marathon (THON) dancer for the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences (EMS). “But when the time came for the totals to be slowly revealed on the screen, I grabbed the hands of the people around me. When the EMS amount of $92,481.23 popped up on the screen, I was jumping up and down with excitement.”
The College of Earth and Mineral Sciences (EMS) THON organization is on a roll. For the third year in a row it has achieved the distinction of raising the most money among the 253 General Organizations participating in THON on February 15 -17, 2013, on the University Park Campus. Overall, THON raised $12,375,034.46 for the Four Diamonds Fund at Penn State Hershey Medical Center.
The motto of EMS THON is “One College. One Love. One Fight.” Overall EMS Chairperson Marla Korpar (B.S. ENVSE ‘13) describes herself and her fellow students as “warriors who battle against pediatric cancer.” And the preferred weapon of this warrior is a spread sheet. Months before the event occurred, she created a detailed hour-by-hour Excel sheet to plan events before and during THON weekend.
She explains that THON is “evolving,” and “canning is just one major part of the fundraising efforts.” She credits corporate donations, THONline fundraising, Peer to Peer Giving, and the inspirational WPSU documentary, Why We Dance, as reasons for this year’s success.
“No one person could accomplish what we did. For us, it’s a team approach. I’m so proud of our integrity too. We are guided by the true purpose of THON. When it came time to pick our dancers, which is a huge honor, we all agreed it wasn’t a popularity contest. We picked dancers who had demonstrated the heart for the cause,” she said.
In addition to Sarah Bademan, Chris DiMisa (B.S. EBF ‘13), Brittany Eckert (B.S. EBF ’13), Julianna Ganter (B.S. ENVSE ‘13), Alyson Hoegg (B.S. METEO ’13)) and Jacqueline Layer (B.S. METEO ’13 ) were chosen to represent the College. Pre-THON training of cutting caffeine, getting regular work-outs, finding time for sleep, and eating healthfully strengthened their hearts in a physical way too. “I haven’t felt this healthy in my whole college career,” said Layer.
Eckert added, “THON changes the lives of the dancers in so many ways. But it also changes the lives of our THON families and all those participating. It gives us a better perspective on what’s truly important.”
“Providing emotional support to the Four Diamonds Families is my favorite part of THON. I don’t think people realize how emotionally connected we are to the families,” said Ganter.
“It’s true,” said DiMisa. “The most memorable moment of THON for me was after Family Hour. Butch Brewer, the father of one of our families just hugged me. We didn’t say anything, we just hugged.”
“The best part for me was seeing the Woods family in the human tunnel as I entered the Bryce Jordan Center to start THON,” said Eckert. “They surprised us; we didn’t think they’d come until Sunday.”
Along with the Brewers and the Woods, the Jackson Hollinger family was paired with EMS this year through the Adopt-A-Family program. Jackson turned twelve in January and is in active treatment for his cancer.
“Seeing the children and the families shows me that complaining about little things in life is unnecessary,” said Hoegg. “I will live every day to the fullest. You never know what will happen today or tomorrow.”
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