Abington THON nearly halfway to ambitious fund-raising goal

Penn State Abington THON is nearly halfway to the ambitious fund-raising goal it set for the 2013 IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon - a 9-year-old cancer survivor keeps the students focused despite their hectic academic, work and personal commitments.

"Gabrielle Chapman was diagnosed with an aggressive malignant brain tumor, at the age of 2. She had brain surgery, chemotherapy and her own stem cell transplant,” Megan Sariego, Abington THON chair, said. “Gab is now a healthy 9-year-old, and she has been cancer-free for six years. She loves her THON ‘brothers and sisters.’ “

The students have raised about $20,000 primarily during the two canning weekends – the most Abington THON has collected from canning in its history. Earlier this month, they hosted Shopping Day FTK on campus. Vendors donated to THON and in exchange were able to sell jewelry, jerseys and handbags among other items to the campus community.

“Our goal for this year is $50,000. We know this is very high, but we are going to put our best foot forward at all times to reach it,” Sariego said. “We have about 40 active members in Abington THON, and we always receive support from other students.”

The group has several other events scheduled to promote donations from students, faculty and staff including a game of Suspect, Office Penny Wars and a Mini Carnival.

They also have set aside four days during the busy end of the semester to wrap gifts at two local Barnes & Noble locations in exchange for donations. They will have a table at the Jenkintown Barnes & Noble from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Dec. 1. And three dates have been booked at the Willow Grove Barnes & Noble: 5 to 11 p.m. Nov. 30; 4 to 10 p.m. Dec. 13; and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 23.

THON is the largest student-run philanthropy in the world and engages more than 15,000 Penn State students across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Its goal is to conquer pediatric cancer by providing emotional and financial support to children, families, researchers and staff at Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital through the Four Diamonds Fund.

Since 1977, the fundraising campaign culminates in February's THON Weekend, a 46-hour dance marathon held in University Park. In 2012, THON raised a record $10.68 million for the Four Diamonds Fund. The fund picks up where insurance leaves off, relieving families of a financial burden so they can focus on their children’s health and treatment.

Donations can be made at http://www.thon.org. To credit your donation to Abington THON, go to Gift and Dancer Support, then General Organizations and then Abington.