Abington THON 2018

We THON ...

to ignite hope and support families battling cancer. Meet the Abington dancers, support the THON community, and commit to a cause that's larger than yourself. FTK — For the Kids.
By: Regina Broscius
Sophomores Kristen McNamara and Alexandra Yurko and senior Megan Weiss are training hard for THON. No sugar, no caffeine, working out nearly every day, and balancing intense preparation with school responsibilities.

They will dance — 46 hours, no sitting, no sleeping — but all Penn State Abington THONers organize events and rally support so families can focus on their children's health and never see a bill for treatment.  

How do a bunch of college students raise more than $10 million a year for kids with cancer? Through Penn State organizations like Abington THON. It’s serious business with a lot of love and fun in the mix. They transform purpose into power so one day there will be a cure.


Faculty, staff, and students crowd the lawn outside the Lares Student Union for Pie in the Face, one of the best-loved THON traditions on campus.

Credit: Maria Narodetsky

THON bonds the campus community. Drop a dollar or two in a can for kids with cancer and smush a friend in the face with a creamy pie. There's THON Carnival and Stand Up FTK, where games and raffles put more money in the THON bank. Join a group writing letters to children in the hospital. The money and the love all add up FTK.  

"Kristen McNamara, Alexandra Yurko, and Megan Weiss will dance for 46 hours, for the fight, for the Four Diamonds families, For the Kids in hope that one day we will dance because WE HAVE A CURE!" — Shane White, Abington THON

Abington THON 2017

Penn State Abington students support THON fund raisers in the months leading up to the dance marathon.

Credit: Penn State

 THONers do more than dance and bring in donations. It's like running a business, and they develop the necessary hard skills: event logistics, group travel, risk management, grant writing, and financial reporting. And soft skills: leadership, communication, volunteer recruitment, and nonprofit management.

"The students of THON will be leaders of tomorrow. We are in very good hands.”  — Gina Kaufman, director, Student Affairs

THON supporters

Abington students support THON through small campus-fundraiser through to the heady day when the three dancers leave for University Park. 

Credit: Regina Broscius

Students who want to dance at THON compete to represent Abington. Once the decision is made, the others transform into the critical role of moralers. They stockpile supplies and travel together to University Park for THON weekend. Their assignment: Work their superpowers to keep the dancers upbeat and healthy when they are exhausted and hurting. 

"Our dancers go through a strict diet and workout plan, on top of their academic and personal responsibilities. They work out five days a week and have stretch workouts six days of the week."

— Shane White, Abington THON

Dancers onboard

Extra socks, check. Comfy sneaks, check. Food, check. Months of preparation pay off as Abington THON dancers and moralers leave their concerns behind and spend a weekend with and For The Kids. 

Credit: Maria Narodetsky

Don't forget to support Abington THON.

THON and the Four Diamonds

The Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon, or THON, is the largest student-run philanthropy in the world. It raised almost $10 million last year, bringing the total donation to the Four Diamonds Fund at Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital to $136 million since 1977. 

The Four Diamonds traces its name to Christopher Millard, who died of cancer when he was 14. He wrote a story about a knight who sought out the four diamonds of courage, wisdom, honesty, and strength an evil sorceress would release him. The diamonds symbolized the attributes Chris believed were necessary to overcome cancer. His parents founded the Four Diamonds Fund in his memory.