The yearlong fundraising event known as Mini-THON was a success for Millersville University and the Honors College.
All of the efforts by the academic program were on full display this past Friday, March 28, encompassing the entire Student Memorial Center.
Students attended a variety of events held in different rooms in the building, from dance teams and routines in the multipurpose room, video game competitions in Club De’Ville, and a 3v3 basketball tournament in the Marauder Courts.
A family involved in Four Diamonds Fund, which is actively fighting against pediatric cancer, joined the night with a heartfelt talk. The Four Diamonds Fund has helped Sydney Bush and ultimately created immense relief for her parents – her father is Pete Bush, a Millersville senior.
“Mini-THON is a yearlong fundraising process,” said Benjamin Shoff, a Millersville senior, community service chair of Honors College Student Association, and the co-chair for the Mini-THON. “So the event was the culmination of our efforts that have been going on since the end of October.”
At the end of the night, students and Four Diamonds children presented the Grand Reveal, displayed on large posters the total amount raised throughout the yearlong fundraising process: $7,636.32.
The Honors College will continue to raise money, despite going beyond their goal for this yearlong fundraising event.
The majority of the event’s success is due to Christine Persun and Sarah Barnes.
Persun is a mathematics major, an honors freshman, and the Fundraising Chair. Barnes is an education specializing in mathematics major, an honors freshman, and the Entertainment Committee Chairperson.
Both women are good friends from sharing several classes due to their relatable majors.
Persun and Barnes had separate yet passionate reasons for suggesting the fundraising event.
In her senior year of high school, Persun knew she wanted to start a Mini-THON. Her Honors College application essay even included her excitement to host a THON. But she pushed off any pursuit for the event’s creation when she started college.
“I decided to put it off until my sophomore year, but that changed back in September,” said Persun. “I saw that Student Services was organizing a 5K to benefit The Four Diamonds Fund for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and I signed up.”
This reminded her of a THON, once a reality for her in high school. Her chance to actually make it happen came about when the event ran into some trouble.
“I received a call several weeks later saying that the 5K had to be cancelled due to lack of participation,” Persun said. “This got me angry enough that I emailed Dr. Downey starting a Mini-THON here and he put me in contact with Ben.”
Barnes, on the other hand, has had experience with a Mini-THON. She participated in her high school’s event last year, which was started by a Four Diamonds child, Chris Millard, a classmate of hers in middle school as well.
But on a personal level, Barnes’ grandmother passed away after several years battling cancer. During her first month of college, this terrible loss took a heavy toll on her.
“Seeing her go through treatments and become weaker and sicker was a terrible experience, and I would not wish it upon anyone,” she said.
On the bright side, the passing of her grandmother gave her the motivation to start a Mini-THON.
“Although she was my grandmother, and Mini-THON and the Four Diamonds Fund especifically benefit children with cancer, I still wouldn’t want anyone to feel the type of pain and sadness that I did, especially not a child with cancer or a parent who is losing their child to the disease,” Barnes said.
Neither woman knew that the other had approached Shoff about starting a Mini-THON, but together they ultimately created a successful event for children battling cancer.
“It is so crazy to think that I had an idea in my head about starting a Mini-THON, talked about it with the Community Service chairperson of the HCSA, and now it’s happening at the end of this month,” said Barnes.
Both expressed their gratitude to all who helped reach their fundraising goal and help make the lives of many families much easier.
“The fact that all we have done is going to help someone, the fact that all we have done is going to change someone’s life, is absolutely humbling,” Persun said. “I am honored to have been a part of this.”