Four Diamonds Mini-THON raises $5.5 million to fight childhood cancer

Tens of thousands of children across Pennsylvania are leading multi-million-dollar fundraising efforts to support pediatric cancer research.

More than 70,000 student volunteers in 235 schools across five states teamed up to raise $5,526,281.63 to fight childhood cancer through Four Diamonds Mini-THONs during the 2015-2016 school year, a $1.3 million increase from the previous year. The announcement was made this morning at the Mini-THON Leadership Summit.

Mini-THONs are modeled after Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon, or THONTM, the world's largest student-run charity. This new wave of philanthropy has raised more than $23 million since 1993. The money is used to drive the discovery of new and improved treatments for childhood cancer, through funding more than 70 pediatric cancer research team members at Penn State College of Medicine; and to ensure that every child is treated for cancer at Penn State Children's Hospital without any out-of-pocket costs for their families.

“Mini-THON has followed in the Penn State Dance Marathon's footsteps to provide robust resources through Four Diamonds, propelling our clinical and research efforts to benefit children worldwide,” said Dr. Barbara A. Miller, chief of pediatric oncology and hematology at the Children's Hospital. “We're so grateful to the outstanding young leaders who have joined us as our partners in the fight to conquer childhood cancer.”

The Mini-THON Leadership Summit brought together more than 700 high school and middle school student leaders and nearly 200 advisors to share best practices, celebrate successes and inspire each other to continue the fight as they organize Mini-THON events for the coming year.

“Mini-THON helped me develop my leadership skills, gave me the opportunity to grow, and taught me how to be a much more conscientious individual,” said Henry Bluestein, a student from Pennsbury High School, located northeast of Philadelphia. “Participating in Mini-THON has opened my eyes to the difference a young generation can make in the lives of so many people if we stay committed to a cause. My experience has been life changing.”

Mini-THON gains more momentum every year, growing 550 percent over the past six years. “The impressive growth of this program demonstrates that Mini-THON students are inspired to have an impact and leave a legacy of service within their communities,” said Kristen Masengarb, associate director of Four Diamonds. “Mini-THON appeals to students because it's kids helping kids, and the leadership development opportunities empower them to be part of this movement.”

“This generation is inspired to be a part of something bigger,” Masengarb said. “It makes me excited to see what these students will accomplish together.”

For more information about Mini-THON visit http://www.fourdiamonds.org/mini-thon.

August 5, 2016 Scott J. Gilbert

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