Dan Zalewski
Sports Editor

Hundreds of thousands of children are affected by pediatric cancer every year. Of those hundred thousands, one in six will not survive their fight. That’s where, in 1977, Penn State stepped in to do something about it and Thon was born.

The 48-hour dance marathon that Penn State created has been widely successful in raising money for the Four Diamonds Foundation at the Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital. Penn State has raised over $137 million since the first Thon.

Charles and Irma Willard founded the Four Diamonds Foundation in 1972 after losing their son Christopher to cancer when he was 14. Since then the Four Diamonds Foundation has been raising money to support those battling childhood cancer. Penn State’s partnership in the fight has been crucial to the success of the foundation.

The event has become such an iconic part of Penn State and Pennsylvania that other universities and high school have added their own version of the dance marathon.

Dubbed Mini-Thon, these events are often shorter than the full 48 hour Thon, but they still serve the same purpose of raising money for the Four Diamonds Foundation.

Mini thon
MU hosted a Mini-Thon this past Friday, presenting a shorter version of the full “Thon,” a 48 hour dance marathon started by Penn State University. (Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

Millersville is one of the universities that participates by hosting their own Mini-Thon. The eight-hour event occupied the SMC MPR Friday night and featured a wide variety of entertainment.

Being a dance marathon, there was always some kind of music playing to dance to. Classic dance tracks like Cotton-Eye Joe and YMCA kept the attendees on their feet throughout the night.

In between the dancing, participants got to meet the family that they are directly helping. Parents shared the story of the tough fight that they and their children worked through together with the help of the Four Diamonds.

Many Millersville organizations came in support of the Four Diamonds.

Millersville’s Expressions dance team attended the event and performed during Mini-Thon. Lambda Kai Alpha attended and the Millersville cheerleaders taught the crowd some cheers to use during Mini-Thon.

Other Millersville organizations showed their support by volunteering to help run and promote the event. WIXQ volunteered to keep everyone dancing all night by supplying the music while MUTV live streamed all the festivities, bringing Mini-Thon to all those that could not attend the event themselves.