CENTER VALLEY, Pa. — Penn State Lehigh Valley Benefiting THON hosted a THON dancer send-off to thank alumni and community donors and celebrate dancers Harshal Patel, Mary Williams and Aaron Wagner on campus on Feb. 13. More than 50 students, friends and family members gathered to celebrate the dancers before they departed for the Bryce Jordan Center at University Park to participate in THON 2019 weekend, which ran Feb. 15-17.
The dancer send-off was presented by Penn State Lehigh Valley’s THON Chair Gabe Sleiman and included recognition of the donors who contributed, along with a video message from the dancers’ families and friends wishing them luck.
Lehigh Valley area Penn State alumni raised more than $18,000 to support Penn State Lehigh Valley Benefiting THON through a variety of fundraising initiatives. On hand to present the checks during the event were: Joe Huxta, Chris Bogden and Lori Kapes, Larry Trubilla, “Dance for a Cure” event, which raised more than $10,000; Kenny Rampolla Jr., Lost Tavern "Hops 4 Hope" event, which raised more than $5,000; Joe Huxta, Lehigh Valley Chapter of Penn State Alumni Association, which raised $500; and Howard Kulp, St. Luke’s Reading Rocks program, which raised $2,500.
Joe Schwartz, admissions counselor at Penn State Lehigh Valley, and Pam Fleck, assistant director of student affairs at Penn State Lehigh Valley, served as club advisers for Penn State Lehigh Valley THON.
“It was a fantastic weekend. All of our students had a great time and fantastic experience at THON. Our dancers were very well-prepared, and it showed throughout the weekend. Pam and I as advisers couldn’t be happier with their efforts. Not only during THON weekend, but throughout the year,” Schwartz said.
The dancers are part of a team of Penn State Lehigh Valley students who have worked through the fall and early part of this semester in raising funds for Four Diamonds. Fundraising efforts have included the PSU-LV Benefiting THON 5K, canvassing, and contributing to the Reading Rocks program at St. Luke’s University Health Network with their Children’s Book Drive. Through their efforts, the Penn State Lehigh Valley team raised more than $27,000. In total, Penn State's THON 2019 raised more than $10.6 million for Four Diamonds at Penn State Children's Hospital.
The funds raised by THON are used to cover the treatment costs for pediatric cancer patients as well as supported cancer research. Since 1977, THON has raised more than $167 million for Four Diamonds at Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital.