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Atlas Raised Nearly Half A Million For THON 2015. How?

Atlas raised a total of $470,347.55 for the kids in 2015, surpassing the total of other organizations by a significant amount. Jaws throughout the BJC dropped when the executive committee announced that the special interest org raised nearly half a million dollars, then exploded in cheers a second later.

So…just how did Atlas do it?

While the org is keeping some specifics about its THON fundraising private, members did give us some insight into its process.

To start, it doesn’t hurt that, at 300 members, Atlas is the largest special interest organization. Atlas Finance Chair Megan Philibin attributes its success to the dedication of those members.

“Our members are constantly inspiring each other and motivating everyone to do all that we can for THON, and this passion pays off,” she said.

Atlas Inspiration Captain Elijah Hermitt helps instill motivation into the group. He makes a point of ending meetings with videos that remind members of why they THON in the first place. This makes members approach bake sales with as much enthusiasm as a canning weekend, all in hopes of raising as much money as possible.

A current member recalled one meeting that especially inspired him. “Atlas does a wonderful job of making us understand the difference we make,” he said. “One meeting, they took our canning total and told us exactly how many days of chemotherapy we bought for a child.”

The group declined to give specifics on what fundraising efforts yielded the most money, but Philibin said that both canning and THONvelopes were successful forms of fundraising. Atlas is a relatively new organization, founded in 2006, so its donors don’t provide significant financial support just yet, but they are always present on THON weekends to cheer on the students and dancers.

Atlas’ executive chair is Kevin Cass. In his first post-THON email to his organization, Cass attributed the massive sum of money to his dedicated members.

“All those long hours of canning, all of those extra seconds spent decorating THONvelopes, every last minute status and fundraiser; it all made a huge difference,” he wrote. “Every part came together to make that number happen. No matter how large or small your part was — whether you sent 200 THONvelopes or simply took the time to mention to a friend from home that there was a cool club called Atlas — you all had a hand in that number.”

The total amount, he continued, can pay for more than 100 days of cancer research or chemotherapy, or more than 300 days of full support for a cancer-ridden child in a hospital.

Atlas currently raises money for three Four Diamonds families, the Smiths, Brobsons, and Gerenas. This past weekend Atlas learned that Claire Brobson is officially cancer free, a moment Cass called an “unbelievable milestone.” It is for diagnoses like Claire’s that Atlas will continue to tackle every event it does with enthusiasm.

About the Author

Caitlin Gailey

Senior from just outside the city of Brotherly Love. Yes, I am one of those Philly sports fans. I bleed blue and white and have since birth. Maybe someday you will see me on ESPN and then again maybe not. If you ever want to inflate my ego email me at [email protected]


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