So I just came across an old blog post I wrote for a class I took freshman year of college. As someone who has recently graduated college, I am still amazed at some of the things I wrote in this post, and to re-read some of the things I’ve experienced. This post discusses one of my greatest loves in life, Penn State’s Dance Marathon. Check it out below!
So yea, that picture right above there? Probably the most attractive picture of me ever taken. No make-up, freezing cold, and frost bitten cheeks. Not exactly my greatest model moment. But this is one of my favorite pictures ever taken. Why? This picture was taken while I was on my first canning trip ever. This picture shows what myself and thousands of other Penn State students did this past weekend; fighting childhood cancer, one can at a time.
If you’re not familiar with THON, it is a 46 hour no sleeping, no standing dance marathon and it is also the largest student-run philanthropy in the world. THON benefits the Four Diamonds Fund
, and ensures that no family will ever see a bill while their child is battling cancer. THON is a year long effort, and canning plays a huge part in accumulating donations.
I remember in high school always seeing Penn State students standing outside on corners in my neighborhood asking for money. I never understood what they were doing or why they were doing it, but I was always curious. This year, I learned just how important THON
is to the Penn State community, and how important canning is as well. I joined Atlas
, an independent organization almost immediately when I arrived at PSU. At its first meeting of the semester, I was greeted by the enthusiastic cheers of its members and knew that I was in the right place. It was then I decided to go canning that weekend.
Last Friday, myself and nine other Atlas members took the three hour drive to Kennett Square, PA, only a half hour drive from my own hometown. When we arrived at the home of our host family, we all unpacked our belongings, grabbed some food … and played Just Dance on Wii.
We had to rise up early the next morning, so we all headed to bed and prepared for our adventure the next morning. Both Saturday and Sunday, our days began at 6:30 in the morning when we all woke up, ate breakfast and headed out in search of the perfect spot. Much to our dismay, a lot of the ideal spots were taken up by other canners; they were everywhere! But finally myself and another Atlas member found the perfect canning spot; Starbucks. Not only were the people generous in donating to THON, they were generous by buying us hot chocolate and coffee, something that we were both extremely grateful for on such a cold day. Both days we went canning were absolutely frigid. I wore multiple layers and still was freezing my buns off. Especially on Sunday, I didn’t know how I was going to be able to stand outside for hours. Truthfully though, when we started making some money, my mood was so uplifted, I didn’t want to stop. I thought about the kids, the dancers and everyone who would be benefitting from this money. We were also very proud of our total, just over $3,000! In twenty-three short days, we will all see just how much money the entire community has raised for THON. Multiple times, I would be greeted by a person in a car yelling “WE ARE”, to which I would obviously reply, “PENN STATE!”. That was such a highlight for me, to see just how large, close and wonderful the Penn State community is. I am so happy I went canning this weekend. I made new friends, raised money for the kids, and finally felt like I was a true member of the Penn State community. This was an experience that I will never forget and I cannot wait to go again.