Shippensburg University students came together for a night of music, games and dancing at the sixth annual Mini-THON Friday in order to raise money for pediatric cancer.
The theme of this year’s event was “dreaming for a cure.” The ShipRec courts were filled with balloons, a stage and tables with various stations that included making cards for Megan Hart, an SU student battling leukemia.
Throughout the night there were activities including raffles, games and contests. At around 8 p.m., there was a performance by the SU marching band’s drum line.
The money raised from the event went to the Penn State Hershey Medical Center and Four Diamonds. Both organizations financially support families that are affected by childhood cancer, according to Cara Bard, one of the co-presidents of SU’s Mini-THON.
On the weekends, members of SU’s Mini-THON go canning. Throughout the year, they also have various fundraisers at restaurants and a Gertrude Hawk Chocolates fundraiser.
They also raised money at campus events including the Activities Program Board’s trivia night, according to co-president Kelly Sourwine.
The event came full circle when Four Diamonds families told stories of how their families had been helped by Four Diamonds.
Marsha Bonn, director of Campus Activities and the Ceddia Union Building, introduced herself and her son, Owen Bonn, who is battling retinoblastoma, a rare form of eye cancer.
Owen was diagnosed two years ago when he was 2 years old. Only 300 children are diagnosed with retinoblastoma a year, so Owen and his family must travel to Philadelphia for his treatment. Four Diamonds helps to pay for gas and food, according to Marsha.
“Four Diamonds is still a really big piece of our life,” Marsha said. “They still help us out in little ways, but they actually mean really big things to Owen.”
For many in attendance, the topic hits close to home. Bard said she joined SU’s Mini-THON committee because cancer runs in her family.
“Once I got to college and found out about this organization, I knew I wanted to be a part of it,” Bard said. “I just want to be able to put effort into something that’s going to make a difference for someone else.”
For SU freshman Averie Bye-Dickerson, this was the first Mini-THON she has ever attended. Her high school did not have a Mini-THON, but she always wanted to attend one.
Bye-Dickerson’s close friend had childhood cancer, and she said Four Diamonds really helped him.
“It’s a really good cause and I’m really glad people see that,” Bye-Dickerson said.
The goal for this year’s Mini-THON was to raise $10,000. That goal was met and surpassed when it was revealed at the end of the night that $13,047 were raised.
“It means a lot to us to raise money for kids who need it the most,” Sourwine said. “We want to help as much as we can.”