Whether you love chocolate, beer, wine, or just raising a toast FTK, the Capital Area Chapter of the Penn State Alumni Association’s Fifth Annual event, A Toast To Four Diamonds, has something for everybody.
The event takes place on Friday, January 22nd at 6:30 at – you guessed it – Hershey’s Chocolate World. Those in attendance will enjoy hors d’oeuvres, a cocktail hour, live music, and a silent auction in addition to special guest speakers.
As a sell-out event each year, event chair Robin Tilley (’11) looks forward to sharing her passion for the Four Diamonds with new faces each and every time.
“I also love seeing repeat faces and knowing that guests have learned to feel strongly about it, too,” said Tilley.
After getting “hooked” on THON her freshman year as a Rules & Regulations committee member, Tilley then independently danced as a sophomore in 2009 – she notes that running a marathon pales in comparison, something she’s done twice since! – and then joined a Hospitality committee as a junior, and got to work with mini THONs as a senior on a Communications committee.
“As you can tell, I was trying to experience as many different sides of THON as I possibly could,” she said. “I couldn’t get enough.”
There are a limited amount of tickets available for this weekend’s event, which features a VIP session with Jay Paterno for sponsors, emcees from local television (Fox43) and radio (Warm 103.3) stations, and a photo booth. In addition, attendees will hear Marcus Josey’s story from his mother Andrea, and will also be lead in a toast by Lydia Hess.
Tilley talked about staying involved with THON after graduating in saying she is still “feeling in some way connected to THON and knowing I can still make a difference.” She added, “Possibly the hardest part about graduating was knowing that my time supporting children through Four Diamonds was over…Boy, was I wrong!”
Anyone interested in volunteering, sponsoring, or in any way contributing to a Toast to Four Diamonds can email Robin at email@example.com. They have a website which you can view here, in addition to a https://twitter.com/AToastTo4DTwitter and Facebook page.
As the winter weather (slowly, but surely) approaches, it’s time again for Penn State alumni THON event season. The first (of many) events this year is Dance for a Cure (D4aC).
Led by Liz Gerancher (’10), who considers D4aC her “baby,” as well as Chris Bogen (’91) and Lori Kapes (’08), the event is happening on Saturday, January 16th from 7pm until 1am at Mixx Nightclub & Sports Bar in Allentown, PA.
As is true with most THON events, there’s but one rule – dance! At D4AC, there will be instructors teaching a different kind of dance every hour throughout the event, including salsa, hip-hop, and country line dancing.
“You won’t find another event where you can get so much in one night,” says Gerancher.
In addition to the dancing, for the price of $20 ($25 at the door), attendees will also get to participate in a silent auction, bowling, pictures with the Nittany Lion, and a buffet.
As a student, Gerancher was the THON Chair of Penn State Lehigh Valley, a student advisor, and danced for PSU LV as a junior. She has stayed involved with THON through this event that has been given the Fundraiser of the Year award from DMAIG.
“I think my favorite part of staying involved with THON after graduation is that I can help the students,” she says. “It’s so fun to be involved in their fundraising events and to help out if they need advice or input from the alumni.”
As for what she’s looking forward to at this year’s D4AC, she excitedly claimed, “country line dancing, because I missed it last year!”
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The Rick Funk Dance Marathon Leadership Award was established in 1996 by Penn State Dance Marathon (THON) alumni to honor Rick Funk, a long-time advisor to THON, for his ten years of providing leadership, commitment and service to the Dance Marathon. The recipient will be awarded a scholarship at the annual Road to THON Celebration Dinner.
Consideration for this award is given to all full-time undergraduate students of at least 6th semester standing who have participated in any capacity with the Penn State Dance Marathon (THON). The award seeks to recognize a student who has demonstrated commitment, loyalty, leadership and the ability to motivate other students involved in Dance Marathon. Students are encouraged to nominate other deserving students and should e-mail email@example.com for more information. Members of the Executive Committee are ineligible for the award.
For more information or to download the application, click here! Deadline is January 3rd!
Imagine the grueling intensity of a half-marathon and the blood, sweat, and tears that went into training for it.
Now imagine starting in last place…on purpose.
That’s the idea behind Cents of Hope, a THON fundraiser in its 5th year of existence. This Sunday, Cents of Hope participants will start last in the Philadelphia Half-Marathon and collect money from friends and family based upon the number of people they pass.
Steve Huber, a 2013 graduate of Penn State, got the idea from his father who saw a similar fundraiser in Runner’s World magazine. “We both loved the concept so I decided to apply it to the Philadelphia Marathon to benefit THON,” said Huber of Cents of Hope’s inception. The yearly fundraiser has collected more than $30,000 for THON.
Huber, a former brother of AKPsi who danced in THON 2013, began training and raising money as a solo runner for the 2011 Philadelphia Half-Marathon and, since then, Cents of Hope’s success has grown exponentially as other participants were invited to join. This year, 25 runners, both students and alumni, are raising money for 10 different THON organizations.
Although he won’t be running this year, Huber is still looking forward to race day. He says, “As we have grown, my role has evolved to be more administrative with less time to train… or at least that’s my excuse! I am very excited to meet all of our new runners, take lots of pictures and be a full-time cheerleader.”
Cents of Hope has also expanded outside of the Philadelphia area — runners can now run through Cents of Hope in the Pittsburgh Marathon come May 2016.
“Despite the major changes,” says Huber, “our mission remains the same: to build a community of runners, sponsors and supporters who are dedicated to conquering childhood cancer.”
Further, he says, “We run to inspire charitable action and provide a sense of hope for those in need.”
For more information about Cents of Hope, visit their website by clicking here, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. The Philadelphia Half-Marathon takes place this Sunday, November 22nd, at 7 a.m.
The passion for THON has continued for years for former Penn State football player and current Seattle Seahawk Garry Gilliam.
“Playing at Penn State gave me a strong connection to the Four Diamonds through my experience with THON,” said Gilliam, who double-majored in Advertising/Public Relations and Management while playing for Penn State.
He and the rest of the Seattle Seahawks offensive line are raising money for the Four Diamonds Fund as well as the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, WA.
Gilliam, who grew up in Hershey, PA, wants to give back to the places who have given him so much. He says, “This season, I want to make an impact both on and off the field, back in my hometown and the city whose colors I wear proudly.”
The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center is dedicated to the elimination of cancer and related diseases as causes of human suffering and death.
Those interested can pledge a certain amount for each time the Seahawks score a rushing touchdown, or make a one-time donation. All proceeds will be split between both hospitals.
To check out more or donate, visit Gilliam’s PledgeIt website by clicking here.
For the first time ever, THON alumni in Fairfax, Virginia are hosting a 5K to support DMAIG, The Hope Express, and, ultimately, THON. The Inaugural Fairfax 5K and Kids Fun Run takes place on Saturday, October 31st at the Fairfax County Government Center. Entry is $30 for the 5K ($45 if you’d like a performance t-shirt) and $10 for the Kids Fun Run. Be sure to dress appropriately for Halloween – the race includes a costume contest – and, of course, candy at the finish line.
We spoke with race organizers Mike Carroll and Liz Hartigan to tell us a little more about the event. Carroll, a Hope Express enthusiast, has been a part of running events for 10 years and decided it was time to organize his own. While driving along the Hope Express’s Conquer Route last year, the two began talking about having a similar event in their part of the country – and thus, the Fairfax 5k was born.
Both Mike and Liz were heavily involved with THON as students. Carroll was on a Rules and Regulations committee in 2003 and a Morale committee for 2002-2003, and a Morale Captain for THON 2004. Hartigan was also on R&R, in 2008 and 2009, a Donor Relations Committee member in 2010, and was THON Chair for Singing Lions in 2010 and 2011. She also danced for Singing Lions in 2010. Needless to say – these two had the passion needed to plan a THON event post-graduation.
Carroll spent the last few months talking to race directors, local municipalities, and running stores to get all of his bases covered, while Hartigan has helped promote through social media and communicate with DMAIG.
When asked what she’s looking forward to most on raceday, Hartigan talked about the feeling most Penn Staters have had in trying to explain THON to others. Thankfully, though, she said, “At this event, they will be able to catch on to the enthusiasm and passion for finding a cure for pediatric cancer that so closely matches the passion of THON and the Hope Express.”
Carroll noted his anticipation for the Kids Fun Run. After all, he says, “The innocence and excitement of children is why we all chose to get involved with THON in the first place and getting to watch that crazy group of kids run around for candy will surely be the highlight of the day!” He’s also hoping, from a “professional level,” that the event goes off without a hitch – and so do we!
While both Carroll and Hartigan are looking forward to raceday, plans are already in advance for next year, so save the date for October 29, 2016!
Both of these proud Penn State alumni are not only anticipating a day of fun and fundraising, but they’re hoping to bring awareness of THON and the Hope Express to Northern Virginia.
After all, says Hartigan, “By extending the Hope Express to Fairfax, we’re demonstrating how the power of passionate individuals can make a large difference in this world. Running 3.1 miles is just one way to do that, but becoming part of something bigger than yourself can make a world of difference.”
Have an upcoming event that isn’t on our list at dmaig.org/alumnievents? Let us know!
Can’t make it to State College for the THON 5K? You can still #RunWithUs. New this year is the opportunity to join in our Virtual 5K for all those not able to be in State College for the event! You can register online to receive your racing number in the mail, and the first fifty registrants receive a free 2015 THON 5K t-shirt! You can also credit registration to the THON Student Organization of your choice. Wear your racing number, lace up your shoes, and hit the streets with friends and family! Be sure to share your photos on social media with #RunWithUs. We welcome all those who are not able to make the event to #RunWithUs in your hometown as we move to support families fighting childhood cancer every step of the way! Any questions can be directed to THON.5K@thon.org.