Penn State’s annual dance marathon, or THON, is a huge deal on campus, and student organizations campus-wide come together to add to the event’s unique atmosphere. The football team is no different.
This year, 70 Nittany Lions mingled with 28 Make-A-Wish children and their families Saturday afternoon at the Lasch Football Building. It was a day for the kids to have fun and for the football players to give back. The families gather for an ice cream social, get autographs from the players and tour Penn State’s facilities. The kids get to try on pads and helmets and interact with the players, tossing footballs and taking photos.
Keep reading to get a social media look at Saturday’s Make-A-Wish event, including plenty of photos and a video highlight reel …
Penn State football players give back during THON Make-A-Wish event
Seventy members of the Penn State football team welcomed 28 THON Make-A-Wish children and their families on Saturday afternoon. While the kids got to enjoy a day of fun and games, the day meant just as much to the Nittany Lions and their coach, Bill O’Brien.
The Penn State dance marathon, affectionately known as THON, is an annual event where students dance for two straight days to raise money for the Four Diamonds Fund to combat pediatric cancer. The fundraiser is recognized as the largest student-run philanthropy in the world, by involvement and revenue. It was started in 1973, raising $2,000 in its first effort. Since its inception, THON has raised more than $101 million for the cause.
2013 was THON’s most successful yet …
I go to the GREATEST university in the world, we raised $12,374,034.46 for Pediatric Cancer Research!! #WeAre #PennState #Culture #THON13Garry Gilliam™
For some football players, it was their first THON experience. Adam Breneman started classes in January and hasn’t even put on the pads yet at Penn State, but he didn’t miss out on the THON atmosphere.
Just got to see #THON13 in action. This is what #WeAre… http://pic.twitter.com/mTRBT6AOAdam Breneman
One day we will dance in celebration. Until then, we dance for a cure. #Thon13 #PennStateProudAdam Breneman
Let the kids paint our faces and bodies #FTK #THON http://instagr.am/p/VzyOvDG_t9/Adam Breneman
Got to spend time today with Four Diamonds family The Wessner’s. Great people fighting adversity. #THON13 #FTK http://pic.twitter.com/yMSQjHuHAdam Breneman
For some of the players who have been through THON before, one of the highlights is getting to see familiar faces …
3 years later we reunite! So proud of you Ashley #THON13 http://pic.twitter.com/ONB5BgnpGarry Gilliam™
Some Nittany Lions are more than happy to help the kids get in a quick workout …
Meanwhile, at the Lasch building, a @THON child gives CB Adrian Amos a lesson in pull-ups. (via @GoPSUTony) #THON13 http://pic.twitter.com/d9g0PavuTHONward State
PIC: @PennStateFball’s Anthony Zettel getting some help lifting weights from a @THON child… http://twitpic.com/c4c3l9Tony Mancuso
PIC: @PennStateFball’s Ryan Keiser getting some help in the weight room from a @THON child… http://twitpic.com/c4c5u9Tony Mancuso
For many, though, the THON experience is just about meeting the families, hanging out and posing for a few photos …
Spent most of the day with @colin_hayes told me how he fought off cancer with the the help of 4 diamonds #THON13 http://pic.twitter.com/QQEJVksNDeion Barnes
One of the children with my helmet..#FTK #thon2013 http://instagr.am/p/VzlFvemNhy/Adrian Amos
Giving back like my mama taught me to…. http://pic.twitter.com/dfAgb7GcDa’Quan Davis
.@PennStateFball players Jesse Della Valle and Kyle Baublitz pose with a THON child. (Picture via @GoPSUTony) http://pic.twitter.com/q3mwMndWTDC THON Coverage
The few the proud http://instagr.am/p/VzVAxxPBZ2/Alex Butterworth
My favorite player & I: Nick Fulton #FightCancer #FTK http://pic.twitter.com/r0iWZwOMDa’Quan Davis
The day wouldn’t be complete without a few words from coach Bill O’Brien …
PIC: Coach O’Brien addressing the 28 @THON families in the @PennStateFball locker room… http://twitpic.com/c4cfv1 #THON13Tony Mancuso
Bill O’Brien Speech at Penn State THON 2013fballplaymaker48
It was clear from their messages that the Nittany Lions are proud to be part of Penn State and THON …
#Thon2013 raised $12.3 million. That is something specialAdrian Amos
I love THON!Garry Gilliam™
So proud of my school #PSUforever #THONMichael Yancich
Penn State just raised $12,374,034.46 for pediatric cancer. All the money is going directly to help children. #We Are #THON13Matt Stankiewitch
100 Million dollars raised for pedriatic cancer…. Penn State like no other since 1855.No Fear.
Some football players even showed off their dance skills on stage during one of the competitions …
PIC: @PennStateFball freshmen on stage dancing at the @THON Pep Rally… http://twitpic.com/c4f74i #THON13Tony Mancuso
Even those who are no longer at Penn State recognize the dance marathon …
Shout out to everyone dancing and participating in THON this weekend! #FTK #WeAreAdam Taliaferro
A look at the highlights from the Nittany Lions’ time with the Make-A-Wish families …
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