Thon 2024 kicks off at Penn State University

This THON weekend, 708 students will stand for 46 hours.

Friday, February 16, 2024
Thon 2024 kicks off at Penn State University
Thon 2024 kicks off at Penn State University

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Penn State's dance marathon, known as THON, officially kicked off at the Bryce Jordan Center at Penn State Friday night.

The 46-hour no sitting, no sleeping dance marathon is the culmination of months of work by about 16,500 Penn State students.

"We're going to make an impact for the kids and that's all that matters," said Eilyse Scanlon, a Penn State senior from West Chester.

THON is the largest student-run philanthropy in the world - raising money for Four Diamonds. The organization was founded with the goal of supporting children and their families in the fight against childhood cancer.

"They are the most remarkable families - always happy, always smiling, always giving us the drive to keep going," Arizona Shrek, a graduate of Penn State Berks, told Action News.

This THON weekend, 708 students will stand for 46 hours. Frankie Riehl, from Springfield, Delaware County, raised almost $15,000 with his friend to dance in THON.

"I am dancing for every child who has unfortunately been diagnosed with childhood cancer, but I want to dance for more smiles," he said.

Jade McDonnell, a Penn State junior from Newtown, Bucks County, said she is excited to see how much money students were able to raise this year. The total will be revealed after the dancers sit at 4 p.m. Sunday.

"You're crying. There's lots of tears throughout the weekend. You get tired. Your feet hurt, but there's nowhere else I would rather be. It's so fun," McDonnell said.

Maddie Fisher, from Phoenixville, is the public relations director for THON 2024.

"The weekend is not just the magic of THON," she explained. "It is our year-round efforts to do what we can for these families, and give them hope there will be a cure."

Saturday at 7:30: Dance for a Cure - Live from THON 2024

6abc and Penn State Health are once again pleased to broadcast Dance for a Cure - LIVE from THON, Saturday night at 7:30. Penn State students will once again take to the floor of the Bryce Jordan Center this weekend for 48 hours of dancing, all to raise money to fight pediatric cancer.

Over 52 years, THON has raised $219,000,000 and has provided financial aid to 4,800 families whose children are fighting cancer.

The efforts make THON the largest student-run philanthropy in the world.

CLICK HERE to Donate.

More about the history of THON.