By Kellie Dietrich
Sponsored by Alpha Pi Omega (APO), the first-annual Four Diamonds Mini-THON raised $2,864.52, well over APO’s goal of $1,000, for pediatric cancer and took place Friday, Feb. 17 at 10 p.m. to Saturday, Feb. 18 at 8 a.m. in McShea.
The idea for Mini-THON surfaced after surveying the brotherhood about service opportunities.
“Thankfully, Mini-THON was one idea brought up,” said Amanda Kaschak, president of APO. “Many of the brothers actually participated in Mini-THON in high school, so their experience was a plus as well.”
Leading up to Mini-THON, APO held two fundraisers to raise money and awareness for the main event. The staff of Donahue made pancakes and took donations for the fundraiser “Thonaue,” which raised $60, and the second event, “Pie in the Face,” raised $125.
Mini-THONs are modeled after Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon (THON), the largest student-run philanthropy in the world, where students commit to stay on their feet for 46 hours. This year they raised $10,045,478.44 for Four Diamonds at Penn State Children’s Hospital.
DeSales’ Mini-THON participants asked friends, family members and coworkers to make donations and committ to dancing, or at least not sitting down, for 10 hours. In addition to a DJ and dancing, there was a life-sized game of Hungry Hungry Hippos, tug of war, ping-pong, a frisbee toss, merchandise, a bake sale and free food available from the DUC and Now That’s Italian in Coopersburg.
One of the highlights of the night was the group dance to “Just Hold On” by Steve Aoki and Louis Tomlinson.
“Even though people were with their friends, and there was some team rivalry for events like Hungry Hungry Hippos, everyone did the dance together on the hour and it was a really fun way to unify the group and mark the passing of the time,” said Leslie Myers, vice president of APO and senior event chair of Mini-THON.
Overall, 93 participants from DeSales, Cedar Crest College and Kutztown registered for the event, but not all of them made it until 8 a.m.
“I wasn’t able to stay the full 10 hours, but I was happy to see that we went beyond our goals,” said Tina Tran, APO member and chair of the entertainment committee for Mini-THON. “People had such amazing energy and spirit, and I truly admire the dedication of everyone involved, especially Leslie, and those who made it through all the way to the end.”
Kaschak also noted that the energy of Mini-THON was incredible.
“Without looking at the clock, you never would have known it was 3 or 4 in the morning. Even as people got tired, we had an amazing group to keep spirits up and remind us that we were doing it for the kids.”
Although the cause made Mini-THON worth it in the end, APO faced difficulties putting on the event. Myers said that the biggest challenge of hosting MiniTHON was the time constraint.
“I found out that we were hosting it one month and eight days before it happened,” said Myers. “Usually Mini-THONs take eight to 12 months to plan.”
With the help of the APO brotherhood and members of the DeSales community, the event was made possible.
“This could not have been done without the help of Jaime Gerhart our advisor, Vicky Gaffney and Matt [McMonagle], Tracy [Gallagher] and Nick [Luchko], Linnae Budusky and Lyndsay Driscoll, just to name a few,” said Kaschak.
Overall, the night was deemed a success.
“The moment the final total was revealed, all of the hard work paid off. Not only did we exceed our goal, but through our efforts we are able to help the life of a child affected by this monstrous disease,” said Kaschak.
“Seeing the sun come back up was the most amazing feeling,” added Myers. “I have done Mini-THONs in high school so I knew what I was asking of everyone, but still having people there with me at 8 a.m. at this event that I had put together was something that I was so thankful for.”
APO plans to make MiniTHON an annual event, but Kaschak says they want to move it to the fall semester.
“We are currently working on collecting suggestions for improvements including the possibility of the timing, length and activities planned,” she said. “The main improvement to be accomplished is more advertising and participation.”
Students can donate to the fight against pediatric cancer until June 1. Help APO reach their new goal of $3,000 by searching “DeSales donor drive” to contribute online to the Four Diamonds Fund or at the URL http://fourdiamonds. donordrive.com/index. cfm?fuseaction=donordrive. event&eventID=1743.
As Four Diamonds says, “One day we will dance in celebration, until then we will dance for a cure.”