We spoke to Charles Millard and daughter Stacia Millard, founders of the Four Diamonds Fund, the sole beneficiary of THON, about what it is like to be at his 37th THON and how THON has grown.
“This is my 37th THON that I have been to. Probably no one else can claim that number,” said Millard. “The young people that are doing it are fantastic, and every year they seem to come up with a new crop of students that just do marvelous thing.”
Millard also discussed the digital changes that have become apparent the past several years, drawing special attention to this years addition of coded bracelets that will give entrance into the BJC for spectators.
“I am not into a lot of technology, but I think it is wonderful,” said Millard. “You can’t have it any other way this day in age. I think it is fantastic.”
Millard even joked about how in the early years, THON resembled more of a high school dance, where students relied only on canning, flyers, and the newspaper to get out the word. Now THON has support from corporate America, alumni, and many other facets of the Penn State community.
When asked what the Millards had to say to the students at Penn State, “It is what takes place inside them [the volunteers],” said Charles.
“Savor it and don’t forget it. [The volunteers] take this experience out into the world,” said Stacia. “Thats powerful.”
“It is amazing to be a part of something that is number one in the world.” said Charles. “The feat itself is amazing because THON has become the largest student run philanthropy in the world, and you can’t get any bigger than that.”