Mini-THON draws big crowd at EMS

By on May 4, 2011

Students from Ephrata, Cocalico and Garden Spot high schools gathered at Ephrata Middle School to dance the night away at Mini-THON this past weekend. The six-hour event kept participants on their feet to raise money for families battling pediatric cancer. (Photo by Stan Hall)

Students from rival schools, Ephrata, Cocalico and Garden Spot, set their differences aside and joined forces this past weekend for a worthy cause. Students gathered at the Ephrata Middle School once again this year for the 8th annual Mini-THON, a program inspired by the incredible THON that is held annually at Penn State University. Both programs were created with one simple goal in mind to raise money and awareness for the fight against pediatric cancer. THON, the largest student run philanthropy in the world, is a year-round fundraising event benefiting the Four Diamonds Fund whose mission is to conquer pediatric cancer at the Penn State Children’s Hospital in Hershey. The effort culminates in a two-day, no-sitting, no-sleeping dance marathon at the Bryce Jordan Center at Penn State University. Since 1977, THON has raised more than $61 million for the Four Diamonds Fund, and the 2011 THON raised an additional $9.5 million, nearly a $2 million increase from 2010. All of the money raised is distributed through strategic investments in hospital bills, cancer research and expenses not covered by average health insurance policies. The Mini-THON, which is a six-hour, standing room only, game-playing dance-a-thon kicked off with a message from Ephrata advisor Dan Mahlandt. Tonight we are three schools coming together for one fight! he shouted. The student council presidents from each high school then welcomed all of the students, advisors and guests, including three families help by the Four Diamonds Fund. Throughout the night, students, friends and family played games such as Crazy Relay, Let s Make a Deal and Minute To Win It while Transformation Salon was providing haircuts for Locks of Love. Parent volunteers Cindy Frankford, mother of Ephrata student council president Nate Frankford; and Crystal Klinger, mother of Ephrata student council vice president Meagan Klinger, made sure there was plenty of food to keep all of the participants energized and on their feet all evening. Pizza, hot dogs, fresh fruit, snacks and drinks were all donated by restaurants and business throughout the area. Each student was required to raise a minimum of $35 to participate in the six-hour event with some raising well over $100. One Ephrata student, Shay Eager, raised a total of $500. In all, the 2011 Mini-THON contributed nearly $17,500 to the Four Diamonds Fund. Meagan Klinger said that the experience has taught her a lot about planning and organizing, valuable lessons that will serve her well when she goes off to college in the fall to study business management. Planning this event has been an awesome experience and getting to work together with other schools for one cause is just awesome, she said. Meeting the families definitely impacted me. They remind us why we do this.

Klinger also expressed gratitude to all the local businesses and volunteers that gave so graciously this year. We could not have done any of this without them, she said. After six hours of games, music, laughter, heart-warming stories and an undying belief that a cure is possible, the 2011 Mini-THON was a financial success. More THON, page A16

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