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THON: By The Numbers

THON 2015 has officially started, which means that over 700 dancers have taken to the Bryce Jordan Center floor. They’ll go without sitting for 46 straight hours to raise money for pediatric cancer.

Here are some telling numbers that illustrate the magnitude of THON’s outreach:

114,860,905.11: In dollars, the total amount raised in THON’s 42 years of existence. The vast majority of that has gone to the Four Diamonds Fund, which forged a relationship with THON back in 1977.

13,343,517.33: In dollars, the total amount raised by THON in 2014 — the highest amount in the organization’s history.

303,000: The number of people who viewed live stream webcasts of THON in 2014, which is roughly the population of Pittsburgh. 

46,800: That’s how many bottles of water and Gatorade were consumed at THON 2014. That adds up to about 790,920 fluid ounces of liquid consumed, or 6,179 gallons. (Imagine just shy of 200 standard-sized barrels filled with liquid.)

46,500: The number of unique barcoded wristbands issued so visitors could attend last year’s THON. Public Relations Director Aly Young says that people could have scanned in multiple barcodes over the course of the weekend, but even so, this number is more than three times the capacity of the Bryce Jordan Center.

17,500: Meals served during THON 2014 weekend. 

2,300: Number of children who pass away from cancer every year.

1,200: The number of sandwiches, in feet, eaten at last year’s event.

708: The number of dancers preparing to stand for 46 straight hours beginning tomorrow at the Bryce Jordan Center. This group is made up of representatives from student organizations, THON-specific organizations, fraternities and sororities, independent dancers, and alumni. 

375: The number of student organizations that raise money for THON on an annual basis. Over 15,000 student volunteers make up those organizations, making THON the largest student-run philanthropy in the world, both in terms of manpower and money raised. 

225 to 300: The number of songs played over the course of THON’s 46 hours — a number that fluctuates depending on the timing of events within the arena, such as pep rallies, performances, and speeches.

42: The number of years since the first-ever THON, which was called Dance Marathon back in 1973. A total of 78 dancers collectively helped raise $2,136 that year with a 30-hour dance marathon in the HUB Ballroom on campus.

The event was a competition back then, and half of the fundraising went to the marathon winners. They were selected with a point system that docked dancers for bathroom breaks and other rule violations. That year, money that was collected went to the Butler County Association for Retarded Children.

4: The four diamonds, or four tenets of THON, are based on a short story written by Chris Millard, a child who lost his battle with cancer before his parents founded the charity. These tenets, which he felt embody what is needed to beat pediatric cancer, are courage, wisdom, honesty, and strength.

0: The number of families that the Four Diamonds fund has had to turn away, largely thanks to the support the organization receives from THON.

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About the Author

Zach Berger

Zach Berger is a reporter and Onward State's Managing Editor Emeritus. You can find him at the Phyrst more nights than not. If he had to pick a last meal, Zach would go for a medium-rare New York strip steak with a side of garlic mashed potatoes and a cold BrewDog Punk IPA. You can reach him via e-mail at [email protected] or on Twitter at @theZachBerger.


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