The Mission of the Penn State Dance Marathon
THON is a student-run philanthropy committed to enhancing the lives of children and families impacted by childhood cancer. THON’s mission is to provide emotional and financial support, spread awareness and ensure funding for critical research – all in pursuit of a cure.
- THON is fundraising over a year-long effort involving thousands of students and culminating in a challenging, 46-hour, no-sitting, no-sleeping dance marathon.
- THON is changing the lives of students and children, reinforcing the importance of caring for one another, and inspiring the determination needed to beat cancer.
- THON is helping to conquer pediatric cancer through strategic investments in hospital bills, research efforts, and the family-centered Pediatric Cancer Pavilion at the Penn State Children’s Hospital.
The Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon, commonly referred to as THON, is a 46-hour Dance Marathon that takes place every February at the Pennsylvania State University with the purpose of raising money to combat childhood cancer. It was started in 1973 by the University’s Interfraternity Council, and in its first year, more than $2,000 was raised, with 39 couples dancing for 30 hours straight. Today, it is the largest student-run philanthropy in the world with a record-breaking $13.34 million having been raised at the 2014 event; THON has raised over $114 million since 1977. The money that is raised is donated to Four Diamonds, a charity devoted to defeating pediatric cancer through research and care for patients at the Penn State Hershey Medical Center Children’s Hospital. More than 15,000 students get involved in the event each year, organizing it and raising funds with the rallying cry, “FOR THE KIDS!”.