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A Penn State Alumnus Is Walking 170 Miles For THON

THON is a grueling 46-hour marathon for the 700+ dancers who brave almost two days on their feet. One man is rivaling this challenge, and took it upon himself to drop everything to travel on foot all the way from Bethesda, Maryland to State College — and he’s doing it entirely for the kids.

Mark Stephens began his 170-mile journey, officially titled Walk4THON, on September 1 of this year. He is scheduled to complete the final portion of his trek in the next few days. After recently retiring from more than 23 years of active duty in the United States Navy, Stephens accepted a position as a faculty member at the University Park Regional Campus of the Penn State College of Medicine. He will begin his work with the university immediately after he arrives in State College.

Stephens hopes to raise $50,000 for THON through donations from supporters of his walk, he stated on his website. He is currently working with Penn State’s Alumni Association, the College of Liberal Arts, and various THON student leaders to coordinate his fundraising efforts. Anyone who wishes to support the cause can donate directly through the link on his website. The website also offers a day-to-day outline of his journey via online maps.

“It’s really a pretty cool story,” said Eliot Gerson, a friend of Stephens and an avid supporter of Walk4THON. “He’s an incredible person and a true Nittany Lion.”

If you want to follow Stephens step-for-step, check out his journey on Facebook and Twitter.

About the Author

Claire Fountas

Claire Fountas is the student life editor for Onward State, as well as a junior pursuing a double major in journalism and psychology. She lives in a suburb of Chicago and strongly disagrees with anyone who hates the Cubs or the Blackhawks (so, pretty much anyone at Penn State). You can follow her @ClaireFountas or email her at [email protected]

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