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Brandywine First-Timers react to THON weekend 

By: Paul Alberici. Lion’s Eye Staff Editor, 

THON weekend is considered by many Penn State students to be one of the best weekends of the year and THON 2015 was no different.

For many people from Penn State Brandywine, this was their first time experiencing the impactful weekend. THON brings Penn State students from all across the commonwealth together to celebrate the end of the fundraising year with the Four Diamonds’ families.

“My reaction (to THON weekend) was breathtaking,” said Samantha Dimarco, a freshman at Penn State Brandywine, who has plans to transfer to University Park in the fall and hopes to be on the dancer relations committee. “The entire thing left me speechless.”

Brandywine had one of its biggest fundraising years to date, raising a record-breaking $40.952.11; the total moved them up to the #7 slot for highest fundraising effort among commonwealth campuses. Part of that success was attributed to the number of consistent members the group had, which was even higher than last year. Many of these new members were freshman and sophomores who had a rough idea as to what THON was about.

“I had seen people canning in the streets before,” said Allyson Pyle, a Penn State Brandywine sophomore. “But I never knew how big the organization was until I got to Brandywine. I regret not joining sooner!”

It seems that every member who went to THON this year enjoyed a different aspect of the weekend, from the line dance which is new each year to seeing how much fun the kids were having. But there was one aspect of the weekend almost every member loves.

“Family Hour (was) definitely (my favorite part),” said Derek Osborn. “It just showed me everything that we’re doing for the kids does make an impact, it does change lives and none of the hard work we put into it is wasted.”

Family hour is the time near the end of the weekend where Four Diamonds’ families come and tell their stories of dealing with cancer, sometimes with their child by their side and other times with only a picture to hold and tears in their eyes. This part of the weekend is capped off with a slideshow of many of the children who are no longer alive after losing their battle to cancer. This portion of the weekend serves as motivation to continue fighting for a cure.

THON has a two-part mission: to provide financial and emotional support to all the families as well as to spread awareness as to what they do and why it is important to help out. Although each THON member dedicates their effort and commitment to the children of the Four Diamonds Fund, some members have a much more personal reason to join in the fight to defeat pediatric cancer.

“I THON not only for all of the kids out there and their families who need our help and positivity to better their futures, but also for some people in my life who have been affected by cancer, specifically my Pop, my Uncle Ray, Brayden Chandler who lived up the street and my friend Mike Gade.” Casey Algeo, a sophomore with plans to attend University Park this coming fall and hopes to join the dancer relations committee, said, “These people are the main reasons why I THON and will continue to THON after my college experience comes to an end. In my personal opinion, there should never be an end to helping people, specifically those who are affected by a horrible disease such as cancer.”

With the book now closed on the THON 2015 fundraising season, many members are eager for next year to start so they can get back to work.

“Because of THON weekend I just want to do even more for these kids,” Osborn said. “I’m going to give it my all next year and try to raise as much money as I can for these kids!”

It is this type of dedication and excitement that keeps veteran THON members hopeful for the future. As long as this chain of dedication continues with new members, THON will continue to be successful for years to come.

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