IST THON raises record-breaking total of $56,512.79
by Stephanie Koons, writer/editor for the College of IST
The 2013 Penn State IFC Panhellenic Dance Marathon (THON) marked a milestone by surpassing the $100 million mark in total funds raised to support pediatric cancer. The 46-hour no-sitting, no-sleeping dance marathon, which took place Feb. 15-17 at the Bryce Jordan Center, raised $12,374,034.46 for the Four Diamonds Fund at Penn State Hershey Medical Center. An organization representing the College of Information Sciences and Technology (IST) contributed to the effort by raising $56,512.79, placing in the top ten among 256 general organizations in fundraising. According to several IST THON members, the experience was both exhilarating and heart-rending.
“I wanted to dance for IST because I wanted to represent an organization that I have poured my heart and soul into,” said Adam Krempasky, executive chairperson of IST THON and a senior majoring in IST and minoring in Security and Risk Analysis (SRA). “Everything I've done this year I did to better my friends, our Four Diamonds Family, and the College of IST.”
In addition to Krempasky, three other IST THON members danced in this year’s sTHON—Krempasky, Chase Miller, Danny Vance and Delaney Scarangella.
“When I saw our total within the top ten at THON I was amazed,” said Scarangella, a senior majoring in IST with a minor in SRA. “I was expecting to see the overall totally barely touch over 11 million dollars, but when I saw IST in the top ten and a 1.7 million increase in the overall total, I froze. Tears filled all of our eyes and I will never forget the ecstatic look on my THON family’s face as the total was revealed.”
IST THON, which was established three years ago, strives to bring the College of IST community together to support the Penn State Dance Marathon and the Four Diamonds Fund. Through close partnerships among students, alumni, faculty and staff in the College, IST THON aims to “inspire hope” by providing emotional and financial support. The organization, which has about 40 active members, raises money throughout the year through numerous channels, including canning, corporate and alumni donations and various events.
“It’s been a crazy roller coaster ride of emotions and it’s always been a blast,” said Adam Stavely, THON technology captain and family relations chairperson for IST THON, and a junior majoring in IST.
To strengthen the emotional connection to THON, for the past two years, IST THON has participated in the Adopt-A-Family Program, which matches Penn State organizations with a family that includes a child who is battling cancer. The family and members of the organization spend time together before, during, and after THON weekend. In October 2011, IST THON was notified that it was paired with the Murphy family, of Middletown, Pa. David Murphy, 11, was diagnosed with leukemia in February 2010. His family members include his father, Ed; his mother, Donna; and his nine-year-old brother, Sean. David will receive his last chemotherapy treatment in April 2014, Stavely said. Prior to THON weekend, IST THON members planned activities with David and his family, sent him care packages, and decorated the hotel room that the family was staying in during THON weekend. Bonding with David and his family, Stavely said, was one of the most rewarding aspects of the entire experience.
“It’s crazy to think we’re making a big impact in a child’s life, but we are,” he said.