Penn State Dance Marathon
Leiland and Logan at their first THON in 2019
Canvassing for THON
Leiland and Logan at their first THON in 2019
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.
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. Since 1977, THON has raised more than $157 million for the Four Diamonds Fund at Penn State Children's Hospital.
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. This past year, Phi Chi Theta raised over $10k, FTK! This total brought us to the #3 fundraiser of all General Organizations. In total, PCT has raised over $800 thousand dollars for the kids.
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:
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 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 Univesity, 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 Leiland Smith Family
We are very excited to introduce the newest member of the PCT family, Leiland Smith! PCT was lucky enough to be paired with the Smith family in November of 2016. Leiland was born on February 9th, 2015, and shortly after was diagnosed with LCH, a rare form of cancer. However, that hasn't stopped our little guy from being a tremendous fighter.
On May 8, 2018, Leiland rang the remission bell with a smile from ear to ear! Since then, he has grown to be a happy and healthy young boy. Leiland celebrated his first THON with us in February of 2019 and even told his mom, Logan, that he didn't want to leave because he was having so much fun playing with our dancers. Leiland loves Penn State football, as well as hanging out with his mom.
We hope by now you can see how much THON means to us, means to our Four Diamonds families, and most importantly meant to our angels, Jackie and Savion. However, a web page cannot accurately describe the colossal impact that THON has. It is truly magical the way a child’s face can light up during those 46 hours, making them, for a little while, forget all about their illnesses. We need your help to support us in our journey to end childhood cancer. Please support our cause and donate here. Someday we'll dance for joy...until then we dance for a cure. FTK!
Please visit and like our THON Facebook page which has more information on our THON efforts and visit our donation page if you would like to make a donation to the cause.