6abc Presents: 'THON: 50 Years for the Kids'

6abc Digital Staff Image
Tuesday, February 22, 2022
THON - 50 Years for the Kids
EMBED <>More Videos

6abc celebrates 50 years of the largest student-run philanthropy: Penn State's THON

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- THON is the largest student-run philanthropic event in the world.

This year is a hybrid event so children undergoing active treatment and anyone unable to be at the Bryce Jordan Center can still watch from their homes or hospital beds.

In 'THON: 50 Years for the Kids,' we take a close look at the very special dance marathon.

For the Kids

THON is aimed at saving the lives of kids and what better way to start than hearing from those who have been saved.

Donations to THON go towards helping students get closer to the quest to end childhood cancer.

Alicia shares how THON helps save lives with every minute of dancing.

50 Years of THON

Both THON and Four Diamonds were founded a half-century ago.

But it was five years before the two organizations would come together, creating a partnership that has the power to literally change the world for kids with cancer.

Ducis Rodgers tells the story of that historic merger.

Meet the Dancers

For those who sign up to dance, THON Weekend is a test of stamina.

There's no sleeping or sitting in the 46-hour long dance marathon.

We spoke with five dancers -- Reilly Burton, Mattie Ross, Caroline Newman, Emily Duddy and Zach Long -- all seniors at Penn State University, who say it's worthwhile because it's for the kids.

The students who plan it all

One weekend of THON takes nearly a year of advance work.

With top-level execution each year, it can be easy to forget that the organizers aren't professionals.

An executive committee of sixteen leads the charge.

Ducis meets some of the stars behind the show.

Four Diamonds origin story

Charles and Irma Millard started the Four Diamonds fund in 1972, just hours after their 14-year-old son, Christopher, died of cancer.

Christopher had written a story about his three-year battle with the disease, depicting a knight going up against an evil and unpredictable sorceress.

To win, the knight needed courage, wisdom, honesty and strength -- attributes Christopher called The Four Diamonds.

So that's what his parents decided to call the fund that they created in his memory.