Penn State's Thon, the world's largest student-run philanthropy, culminated a year of fund-raising Sunday with a dance marathon that helped raise $9.77 million.

The group raises money to fund pediatric cancer research and to help the families of children diagnosed with cancer.

At the Bryce Jordan Center in University Park in front of a crowd estimated at times to be 15,000, 708 dancers managed to stay awake and on their feet for 46 hours.

Lily Beatty, a supply-chain management major who serves as public relations manager for the event, said the students who run Thon and the university's administration still are reviewing safety measures around the practice of "canning," when students spread out across several states to collect roadside donations.

Two students have been killed in car accidents during canning weekends, one in September while she was returning with six other students from Chester County, and one in December 2011 in Huntington, N.Y.

"It's not something, when it comes to safety, that you want to rush," Beatty said of canning, which she predicted will continue. "We are definitely committed to it."

The students, in consultation with the school's administration, canceled two canning sessions in recent months. The result was a drop in fund-raising, down from just over $13 million last year. Before this year's totals, Thon had raised more than $127 million since 1977.

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@ByChrisBrennan