A year-long fundraiser ended this weekend, when cards were lifted to reveal that THON had raised $12.3 million dollars for the Four Diamonds Fund. People were tired and weary, weak from standing on their feet for 2 days straight. Less than a week later, many of those people will be decked out in green, stumbling around State College on State Patty’s Day. But I am here to tell you that these two events should never, even for a second, correlate.
We all know how State Patty’s Day started, when St. Patrick’s Day was over spring break so we made up our own Irish celebration. The “tradition” continues even when we still get St. Patrick’s Day, and it always falls on the Saturday before spring break. In addition, it always falls on the weekend after THON.
Many have been known to call the week after THON “THON-abus” week, when they can finally let loose after all the intense planning and organization that went into the record-breaking event. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for a celebratory drink, but now is not the time to flaunt it.
THON is all about celebrating life, and forgetting about a terrible disease for just one weekend of the year. Once that weekend is over, we shouldn’t be looking for excuses. Complaining about having classes the day after completely contradicts why we THON. Thinking that we should be able to celebrate State Patty’s Day because of our THON efforts is one of the most asinine, backwards thoughts one could possible have. Telling Mark Emmert to “suck it” because we raised $12.3 million dollars not only makes zero sense, but makes one sound arrogant, which is the last thing Penn Staters need. Finally, giving the “My school raised $12.3 million for kids with cancer, what did YOUR school do?” argument is probably the most frustrating thing to see when it’s posted all over Facebook and Twitter.
All of these things are taking away the true value of THON and what it means to be a part of the THON community. These “arguments” boil down THON to just a competition instead of a fundraiser for a great cause. Flaunting and showing off the numbers from the weekend make it seem like a conceited concept. There’s a difference between being proud or excited and then completely disregarding the reasoning behind THON and focusing just on the total number.
Broadcasting these kinds of messages risks to, directly or indirectly, take away from the people who truly do THON for only the right reasons, the kids.
What we accomplished as a community this weekend is unbelievable, and I could not be more proud to attend this school because of it; however, we need to get off of our high horses. We need to stop using THON as an excuse. We need, in essence, a reality check.
I’m not big on State Patty’s Day, but I’m not against it either. No matter your opinion of the “holiday,” though, this weekend is in, no sense, a reward for raising money for THON. There are no extra incentives. We got to see hundreds of Four Diamonds families this weekend get excited and forget about cancer this weekend — that is our reward.