What is THON?
The Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon is a year-long fundraising and awareness campaign for the fight against childhood cancer. This effort engages more than 15,000 students across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in hopes of finding a cure. Penn State THON is the largest student run philanthropy in the world, and Phi Chi Theta could not be prouder to say that we take part in it.
The year culminates with a 46-hour no-sitting, no-sleeping dance marathon known as THON Weekend. This event is held at Penn State's Bryce Jordan Center each year in the month February. In 2022, THON raised $13,756,474.50, breaking a new record!
Why do we THON?
Phi Chi Theta stays committed to THON year-round by planning and participating in various fundraisers in order to raise money for Penn State's Children Hospital. For THON 2022, Phi Chi Theta raised over $145K FTK! This total brought us to the #2 fundraiser of all General Organizations.
Not only does PCT work diligently to raise money for the Four Diamonds, but we have also been blessed to serve as support systems for our three Four Diamonds Families. We invite you to learn about their stories below.
The Jackie Mazur Family
The Four Diamonds Family that PCT has been paired with the longest is the Mazur's. In November of 2005 while attending Wilkes University, Jackie was diagnosed with Ewing's Sarcoma. However, this setback did not get Jackie down. In her words it was a "gift in disguise" as Jackie was introduced to Penn State, the Four Diamonds, and found her passion for nursing. Wanting to be a nurse practitioner specializing in pediatric oncology, Jackie then transferred to Penn State. Jackie also became a brother of ours in Phi Chi Theta while at Penn State.
Having been deemed cancer-free in November 2006, Jackie was even more determined to beat cancer when six months later she was diagnosed with leukemia. In 2010 at the age of twenty-three, Jackie passed away. She was loved by her friends and family and was an inspiration to everyone who knew her. Jackie is very missed and will be forever in our hearts.
The Savion Atterberry Family
A very spunky kid with a whole lot of energy, Savion Atterberry (Savi for short) loved playing video games with his older brother Juwaun, riding bikes with Poppy, and watching his dog, Dodge, be crazy. From York, PA, Savi lived with his older brother Juwaun, his mom, Angie, and his grandparents, Robert and Lucille Atterberry. Savi attended his first THON when he was just a toddler, and had been in love ever since. He especially enjoyed the year when PCT's theme was his favorite cartoon characters, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Over the years, PCT and Savi have created a great friendship through routine visits and having a blast at THON as he and the Atterberry's became a valued part of the Phi Chi Theta family.
On January 17, 2016 at the age of ten, the Lord's angels came and gave Savion Atterberry his wings. A brave and courageous fighter through thick and thin, we remember Savi for what an amazing person he was. Often sick and in the hospital, Savi held fast to his tremendous empathy for others. When his aunt's house had caught fire, from the hospital bed he did everything he could to comfort her and make sure that she was alright. When his cousin was in the hospital, he provided words of encouragement to help make her feel better. We remember him like that.
PCT has a great relationship with the Atterberry's to this day. It's on weekly phone calls with Angie and visits to York several times a year that we get to hear these amazing stories about our little superhero. PCT could not be more thankful to have the Atterberry's as a part of our family, and look forward to continuing this relationship indefinitely in the future. Fly high Savion.
The Leiland Smith Family
PCT was blessed to be paired with the Smith family in November of 2016. Leiland was born on February 9th, 2015, so he is now 7 years old! Shortly after he was born, Leiland was diagnosed with LCH, a rare form of cancer. However, that hasn't stopped our little guy from being a tremendous fighter! Leiland loves Penn State football as well as hanging out with his mom, Logan. On January 4th, 2018, Leiland found out that he was in remission and soon after got to ring the remission bell at Hershey Medical Center with his family and a few brothers of PCT there to celebrate him!
Leiland is growing up to be a smart, sassy, and energetic young man. He loves attending kindergarten where he gets to see all of his friends, and loves to talk about his “favorite subject” of recess. He is very excited for the future, and wants to be a firefighter when he grows up. During the last few hours of THON last year, it was Leiland’s energy that helped our dancers get through the last hours. His strength, smile, and silly nature never fail to light up a room and we all look up to him tremendously for that. We cannot wait for what the future of our relationship with their family is going to look like.