Charles Millard, Katie Mailey Kick Off THON 2016 At Press Conference
THON 2016 Executive Director Katie Mailey and Four Diamonds co-founder Charles Millard welcomed the press just hours before the dancers will stand for 46 hours in the Bryce Jordan Center. The two were joined by the director of Four Diamonds Suzanne Graney, Public Relations Director Lily Beatty, and Development Director Katie Kavanaugh.
Beatty started off the press conference by explaining what THON weekend means to the Penn State community. “After seven months of fundraising, it’s our way to reward our volunteers,” Beatty said. “But THON weekend is also crucial in making sure [the families] have support and critical research to take action against pediatric cancer.”
Mailey also focused on the support the Four Diamonds families. “THON is the tangible emotional support and it’s a way to show how much we support them throughout the year,” Mailey saud.
Graney reinforced the importance of research in the fight against pediatric cancer with a startling statistic: one in five children diagnosed with cancer do not make it through their fight with the disease. “Research is the only thing that’s going to change that,” Graney said. “For THON yesterday, THON today, and THON tomorrow.”
Speaking of past THON’s, this year marks Millard’s thirty-ninth THON. Though he’s attended nearly two decades of dance marathons, Millard is still overwhelmed at what THON does. “It’s just amazing that students like yourselves have generated such a successful event,” Millard said. “I’m eternally grateful for everything you’ve done.”
Follow along for the whole 46 hours with our live blog.