Students at Pennsylvania State University raised over $10 million for the fight against childhood cancer in the annual 46-hour dance marathon called Thon.
Thon, billed as the largest student-run philanthropy in the world, announced the whopping $10,045,478.44 total on Sunday afternoon at the conclusion of the Interfraternity Council/Panhellenic Dance Marathon.
And the total for THON 2017 is… $10,045,478.44 pic.twitter.com/QatuqC6kle
— Penn State THON™ (@THON) February 19, 2017
Hundreds of students at the Bryce Jordan Center roared in response to the revealed amount, an increase over the $9.7 million raised at last year’s charity dance marathon, according to The Daily Collegian, an independent, student-run newspaper at Penn State.
The 2017 total, however, is significantly lower than the record $13.34 million raised in 2014. Since 1977, Thon has raised more than $136 million, according to the philanthropy’s website.
Funds raised benefit pediatric cancer patients and their families at the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.
— The Daily Collegian (@DailyCollegian) February 19, 2017
Officials announced last spring that, by 2019, Thon will phase out the practice of soliciting donations from motorists after two student volunteers were killed in recent years. A 19-year-old sophomore at Penn State died in a one-car crash in September 2015. Another student volunteer died while traveling for a weekend of fundraising in December 2011, according to The Associated Press.
At a press conference Friday afternoon ahead of the dance marathon, Thon 2017 executive director Austin Sommerer said the new restrictions forced the philanthropy to explore other fundraising avenues.
“One of the things I’ve preached since day one is to think outside the box,” Sommerer said, according to The Daily Collegian. “Come up with new ideas. Let’s see what we can do. Let’s figure out what our dreams are and see what we can accomplish them.”
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