Director of Four Diamonds Fund Sings Anthem
This year, Onward State was lucky enough to get a seat on press row in front of the box holding members of the Four Diamonds Fund. Their director, Suzanne Graney, not only sang the national anthem, but sat down with us for a brief interview about her job, and why she enjoys THON so much.
As director, she oversees various fundraisers, marketing, volunteer benefits, and more, all relating back to THON. She talks to people to give them more info about the Four Diamonds Fund while spreading awareness about pediatric cancer.
She’s been with the Four Diamonds fund for two-and-a-half years, and this is her third THON.
She attained the position of director as a “lucky circumstance.” She was working with Harrisburg’s PBS affiliate, WITF, about cancer awareness, when she met people from the University Development team at Hershey Medical Center. It was from there that she moved from her job at WITF to her job with the Four Diamonds Fund.
This year, she opened up THON by singing the national anthem. During her first year as Director, the 2011 Overall Committee sang a lot, and she would sing along with them in the office. Her singing impressed everybody so much that the entertainment chair asked her if she would like to sing the anthem during the 2012 THON. Last year was her first year singing the anthem, and it came as a surprise to everybody. She didn’t tell her coworkers, or anyone for that matter, that she was going to sing the anthem. This year, people kept asking her if she was going to sing, which she proudly did again.
She describes THON as “incredible” and the events of the weekend as “a sea of kindness” to everybody. It was through this sea of kindness that she witnessed the most moving things she has ever seen at THON. During the 2011 THON, she saw members of GammAcacia holding up a toy giraffe. The giraffe stayed up in the air for all 46 hours, never touching the ground. This led her to wonder about the origins of the giraffe, and it was only after that year’s THON where she learned that the organization’s child, Jasmine Cope, lost her battle with leukemia before THON. The giraffe was her favorite animal, and it was their way of honoring her.
Stories like Jasmine’s remind people that one in every five children will die from their disease within five years. It’s a sad statistic, but it is why we dance for 46 hours.
While I interviewed her, the line dance was in full swing. She said that she plans on learning the line dance, but missed out when the Morale captains were teaching people how to do the dance. She will pick up on it as the event goes on, she said. She loves this year’s dance, but said that she loves the line dance each year.