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The Hope Gala Continues Support for THON Long After Graduation

The support for finding a cure for pediatric cancer never stops for some Penn State students, even after graduation. Perhaps nothing showcases this more than the Hope Gala, an organization that holds an annual event in New York City supporting THON.

The Hope Gala raised $201,17 for Four Diamonds last year. The event certainly draws a crowd, and last year it had a record breaking 475 attendees. Devon Still and Leah Still were in attendance, as well as Ryan McGarry, (executive producer of the CBS series Code Black) and ESPN’s Kim Jones as the MC. It is a great way for Penn Staters to get involved with the cause and meet new Nittany Lions long after graduation.

Founded in 2008 by the New York City Chapter of the Penn State Alumni Association with support from the Northern New Jersey Chapter, the Hope Gala has since raised more than $600,000 for THON and its sole beneficiary, Four Diamonds.

Kelly Dormer is the executive director of the Hope Gala for the second year in a row. Her THON involvement began her freshman year at Penn State. She was the THON Chair for Penn State Powerlifting for her entire college career, and she danced for this organization in both 2008 and 2010. She didn’t have a direct connection to a family until her senior year, and being connected with the Conner Holland family fueled her passion for this fight. When she graduated and moved to New York she knew she’d stay involved with THON no matter what. She found The Hope Gala at a viewing party of the THON documentary in New York City in 2011.

She describes it as “very similar to THON, in the sense that we’re raising money with sponsors and various events such as SoulCycle, the Hope Floats cruise, and many other events.” These things are very unique to New York but also unite the community that has a passion for THON and its mission to end childhood cancer. The 200+ volunteers can get as involved as they want. 

The 2017 Hope Gala will take place on March 11, 2017 at Gotham Hall in Manhattan. Anyone can attend and it’s a great event for current Penn State students to go to, too. Four Diamonds families speak every year, and for some, it’s their version of “THON weekend.” You may even get to see Leah Still leading a “We Are” chant!

So graduating seniors, if you have plans to move to New York and have a passion for THON, or always wanted to get involved but couldn’t find the time, check out The Hope Gala. As we say, For The Kids, always (even after we graduate).

If you want to learn more about the Hope Gala, [email protected] is the place to go. You can also follow it on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter at @nychopegala.


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About the Author

Emilie Dormer

Emilie is from Upper Moreland, aka "just outside of Philly." She's a senior majoring in Secondary English Education (which just means she wants to be a high school english teacher.) She can be found around campus making fire Spotify playlists, chugging iced coffee, or crying because she's just seen a puppy. She talks entirely too fast for anyone to comprehend, so you can follow her on Twitter @dorm_partyy, and Instagram @emdorm. Questions/comments/whatever can be sent to [email protected]

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