Penn State's Thon smashes $10M fund-raising mark

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Volunteers line up to reveal the Thon total of $10,151,663.93 on Feb. 18, 2018. The amount, revealed at the end of the 46-hour dance marathon at the Bryce Jordan Center, surpassed the $10,045,478.44 raised in 2017. The record was $13.34 million raised in 2014.

After 46 hours of uninterrupted dancing — no sitting or sleeping — a group of Penn State students raised nearly $10.2 million to benefit childhood cancer research and patient care.

The announcement was made Sunday at the conclusion of the annual Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon, better known as Thon. It is believed to be the largest student-run charity in the world.

Thon has raised more than $140 million since 1977. The 2018 Thon total did not represent the largest sum the charity has ever raised. In 2014, students collected $13.3 million.

Hundreds of students participate in the actual marathon weekend itself, held at the university’s Bryce Jordan Center. Students also raise money in other ways throughout the year.

The organization phased out “canning” — having students collect coins and dollars in cans — after several student fatalities, and amid dwindling proceeds from the student solicitations.

Thon, working with a nonprofit called Four Diamonds, supports 500 children with cancer annually, providing financial support for every part of treatment not covered by insurance.