Local students raise $26,662 at Mini-THON

By on March 14, 2012

By: STEPHEN P. STONE Review Correspondent, Staff Writer

Dancers work their moves during the Mini-THON event Saturday at Ephrata Middle School. (Photo by Preston Whitcraft)

On Saturday, March 10, students from rival schools, Ephrata, Cocalico, and Garden Spot, converged on the Ephrata Middle School to join forces, with one common goal: to raise money and awareness in the fight against pediatric cancer.

The students from all three local schools gathered once again this year for the 9th annual Mini-THON, sporting a theme of "Not all Superheroes Wear Capes," a program stemmed from the incomparable THON that is held annually at Penn State University.

The Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon, affectionately referred to as THON, is a year-long effort to raise funds and awareness for the fight against pediatric cancer. Since 1977, THON has raised more than $78 million for The Four Diamonds Fund at Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital. THON 2012 took place the weekend of February 17-19, in Penn State’s Bryce Jordan Center. This year more than $10 million was raised at the event. All of the money raised is distributed through strategic investments in hospital bills, cancer research, and expenses not covered by average health insurance policies for Four Diamonds Families.

The 2012 Mini-THON, which is a six-hour, standing room only, game playing, dance-a-thon kicked off on Saturday evening with the student council presidents from each high school welcoming all of the students, advisors, and guests including a few of the Four Diamonds Families who were in attendance for the event.

Throughout the night, students, friends, and family played games such as "Amazing Race," "Fear Factor," "Whose Line is it Anyway," and a Mini-THON favorite, "The Dating Game," which was back this year, all the while Transformation Salon was providing haircuts for Locks of Love.

Parent volunteers made sure there was plenty of food to keep all of the participants energized and on their feet all evening. Pizza, hot dogs, subs, chips, pretzels and a seemingly never-ending supply of Tastykakes, as well as drinks were all donated by restaurants and business throughout the area for this incredible event.

Each student is required to raise a minimum of $35 to participate in the six-hour event with some students raising well over $100 each. In the end, the 2012 Mini-THON contributed to the Four Diamonds Fund by raising a grand total of $26,662.71, absolutely crushing their original goal of $20,000.

Lindsay Smith, one of the Mini-THON coordinators from EHS is a Four Diamonds child herself. Lindsay was diagnosed with Synovial Sartoma, a type of cancer that affects the soft tissue when she was 12-years old. Through the support of THON and the amazing doctors and nurses at Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital, Lindsay has been in remission now for four years.

"I continue to be amazed more and more at the outpouring of support from our community," Lindsay, who has been involved with Mini-THON since she was a freshman, said.

Lindsay, who is also the President of the National Honor Society at the Lancaster County Career and Technology Center is planning to join the Lancaster General Hospital Nursing program this fall. She dreams of one day being able to work at Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital and help other children and families going through the same thing that she herself once went through.

Kari Martin, Ephrata senior class President, said being a part of Mini-THON was a very rewarding experience.

"Knowing that the time and money my classmates and I put into this went towards making a difference in a child’s life," she said. "It seems to become more and more important to this community every year."

Kari, who plans to attend Messiah College in the fall, majoring in Social Work with a focus on Marriages and Families, feels like her experiences with being apart of Mini-THON these last several years will dramatically help her in her career.

Both Kari and Lindsay expressed their infinite gratitude to all the local business and volunteers that so graciously gave their time and money this year, saying, "none of this is possible without their support."

After six hours of games, music, laughter, heart-warming stories, and an undying belief that a cure is possible, The 2012 Ephrata/Cocalico/Garden Spot "Mini-THON" proved once again to be a huge success in the fight against pediatric cancer.

Anyone interested in donating to the "Four Diamonds Fund" can do so on the web at www.thon.org or by calling 1-800-392-THON. More THON, page A18

About Ephrata Review