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THON 2023 ‘Fosters The Magic’ In Pre-THON Press Conference

Three hours before dancers hit the floor for the 51st annual THON on Friday, THON directors and Four Diamonds executive members spoke to the media in a pre-THON press conference.

THON 2023 Executive Director Lily Pevoto and Public Relations Director Megan Dalo were joined by Four Diamonds Executive Director Suzanne Graney and Stacia Millard Bird, the sister of Christopher Millard and daughter of Four Diamonds co-founders Charles and Irma Millard.

Dalo addressed the media and thanked the group for spreading THON’s mission through coverage and gave the floor to Pevoto.

“This year has been a year of incredible successes for the THON community and that’s all attributed to the 16,500 student volunteers who we have working day in and day out to help us further our mission,” said Pevoto.

This year’s THON marks the first THON with no COVID-19 restrictions. Additionally, THON welcomed 30 new Four Diamonds families who have never seen a THON Weekend before.

“We’re really excited for this weekend to be a moment where families can truly just step away from the diagnosis and we’ll be able to let kids just be kids,” said Pevoto.

Since 2010, Graney has served as the executive director of Four Diamonds, which assists children and their families in the fight against childhood cancer.

“One of the things that we always think about when we think about THON is gratitude,” said Suzanne Graney. “We are so grateful for the 16,500 students that give more than five million hours of their time every year to make THON happen, and they’re making it happen for the kids.”

Graney and Four Diamonds recently amassed $200 million in funds raised for the kids.

“What’s incredible to me is the love and care that’s behind those numbers,” said Graney. “If you try to raise $200 million as a single person, it would take more than a lifetime, I believe, to do that.”

Next, Bird got choked up discussing the legacy her father left since his death in 2021. Bird’s father, Charles Millard, along with his wife Irma, created Four Diamonds following their son Christopher Millard’s three-year battle with cancer.

“My dad didn’t miss one,” said Bird. “It was what he lived for in his later years. That was what kept him going knowing that he was going to be able to come and see this… It was definitely the highlight of his life.”

Graney closed the conference with thoughts of appreciation for the THON community and excitement for the work that Penn State is doing.

“It is truly breathtaking when I think about the vastness of what has happened and how many people have been able to be helped because we have so many students and community members who care so much about kids and want to help all of us collectively get to that day when we get to dance in celebration,” said Graney.

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About the Author

Keeley Lamm

Keeley is a sophomore journalism major from Richmond, Virginia, and is one of Onward State's associate editors. She also talks about random, fun stuff on our podcast, Podward State. Keeley is a lover of grilled cheese, naps, and Kevin Jonas. If you would like to share your thoughts on the superior Jonas Brother, feel free to contact her on Twitter @lammkeeley or send your best Spotify playlist to her email [email protected]

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