THON: Penn State students raise $10.6 million-plus in virtual dance marathon

Penn State students managed to raise more than $10.6 million dollars for pediatric cancer patients in the annual 46-hour dance marathon known as Thon despite mostly virtual fundraising efforts throughout the year and having the event online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The $10,638,078.62 total was announced Sunday at the conclusion of the Penn State Interfraternity Council/Panhellenic Dance Marathon, billed as the world’s largest student-run philanthropy. Money raised benefits pediatric cancer patients and their families at the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. Child cancer survivors and their families also usually participate.

This year, dancers participated remotely from their own homes with a limited stage setup for a livestream broadcast. While dancers traditionally aren’t allowed to sleep or even sit during the event, aided by thousands of other students in support roles, the Centre Daily Times reports that this year they were encouraged to rest from midnight to 6 a.m. because they didn’t have access to the usual medical resources of the in-person event.

Last year, the in-person event raised almost $11.7 million dollars. Officials say the event has raised more than $180 million since 1977.



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