Second Annual Mini-THON

Kiara Lu

The new logo and motto for this year's Mini-THON
Cartoon Courtesy of Mini-THON
The new logo and motto for this year’s Mini-THON

Mark your calendars, Hawks. Mini-THON has returned to Urbana and the main event will take place Saturday, April 23rd from 5pm-11pm in the gymnasium. For those of you who do not know, Mini-THON is a six-hour party of dancing, games and fun. It is a no-sitting, no-sleeping, celebration for kids with cancer and their families.

The event raises money for the Four Diamonds Fund for conquering pediatric cancer by having students and staff sign up to have a great time supporting a phenomenal cause. Mini-THON stems from Penn State’s own THON. ‘THON’ is a forty-six hour dance marathon also supporting the Four Diamonds Fund which is a foundation for families that have children with cancer.  Four Diamonds pays for all costs not covered by insurance.

Last year, the goal was to raise $10,000. With all the fundraisers and donations, Urbana raised $22,438.32 after its first Mini-THON. This year’s goal is $25,000.

Not only can you help by raising money as a participant in the main event, but you can also attend and support the fundraisers that the Mini-THON club has been hosting throughout the school year. For example, most school events have had Mini-THON booths where you can purchase Mini-THON merchandise and donate to the cause. In addition to that, they have held fundraisers at various restaurants like Chipotle, Buffalo Wild Wings, and Café Rio, and most recently SGA and Mini-THON advisors English teacher Stephen Ward and Social Studies teacher Matthew Ferrante, along with Mini-THON member Tommy Walters, scooped ice cream at Baskin Robins. Just by grabbing a meal like you would any other day, you are supporting the cause.

This year, Hawkfest and Mini-THON will be occurring on the same day. Hawkfest will end an hour before Mini-THON but will suffice as a way to build momentum for the overall day in terms of celebration. Ward hopes that by the two events happening on the same day, Urbana can create, “one day, one event, and one night that you want to be a part of. You want to be there.”

Registration packets to participate can be found with Ward and Ferrante, or Executive Director, Jay Kulkarni. There is a ten dollar registration fee and the cutoff date to register is the day of the event at 3:45 pm. However, the donation cutoff date is Tuesday, June 31st at 11:45 pm. Students must turn in the following forms which can be found in the registration packet: Commitment Form, Medical Form, and Publicity Release Form. With those, you must turn in the registration fee in a labeled envelope to your Mini-THON representative. In addition to the fee, all participants are encouraged to raise a minimum of fifty dollars for the fund.

Ferrante and Ward want it to be clear that this is not a “typical dance”. Students can expect not only dancing but games, sports tournaments, food, moon bounces, Zumba, Swing Dancing lessons, and more. Students and staff can look forward to a special teacher-led dance by Principal Chavez and other faculty members.

First and foremost, however, Mini-THON is a charity event and all the participants should be aware that they are taking part in finding a cure for the kids. One of the more memorable moments of the evening is hearing the stories of those THON children who are in remission or are battling the deadly disease.

“It’s hard not to be moved by these families and their stories of hope, courage, triumph, and of course, love,” said Ward.

Ward said, “I find Mini-THON to be one of the most important events of the year because it does encompass the entire student body. It means everything.” Ward appreciates all the students who have sacrificed their time and personal lives.

“To work on this for something that they get truly no benefit from…except for seeing that final total at the end of how much that they raised…there’s something to be said for doing something for others,” Ward said.