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THON Director Thursday: Meet THON 2024 Public Relations Director Maddie Fisher

Name: Maddie Fisher

Major: Marketing

Previous THON Experience:
THON 2021 OPP committee member
THON 2022 Family Relations captain
THON 2023 Public Relations captain

What made you want to apply for a director position for THON 2024?

I wanted to serve as a director for the largest student-run philanthropy in the world because I truly believe that THON changes lives. There isn’t one critical moment that drove my decision but rather my passion stems from a collection of moments that have shaped the way I view the power of philanthropy. Through my interactions with our Four Diamonds families, I have seen the direct impact of how THON provides life-changing emotional and financial support for families going through the most difficult time of their lives. I knew that the opportunity to serve as the Public Relations Director would allow me to play a direct role in shaping global awareness of childhood cancer research.

As a volunteer, I am forever changed by the community fostered through this organization. Through my years of volunteering with THON, I have met the most amazing people who have undoubtedly changed my perspective on what it means to be a Penn Stater. THON has been one of the most beautiful and moving parts of my Penn State experience and I could not be more excited for the strength, love, and hope that THON 2024 will see this year.

What are your responsibilities as a THON Director?

This year, I hope to serve as a resource for collaboration, advocacy, and friendship within both facets of the Executive Committee and as the Public Relations Director. As a member of the Executive Committee, I am united in the shared goal of elevating THON’s volunteer experience so that all Penn Staters can find belonging within our organization. By learning from the diverse perspectives of my 16 co-directors, 16,500 student volunteers, and the greater THON community, I am grateful and humbled to have the opportunity to drive lasting change within our organization.

In my role as Public Relations Director, I aim to foster a creative vision among PR’s 26 captains and over 80 committee members. It is my hope that Public Relations provides the opportunity for all to feel connected to Four Diamonds families, volunteers, and our mission of conquering childhood cancer.

The Public Relations committee seeks to magnify the stories of families, volunteers, and THON community members on a local, state, and national level. THON Public Relations manages THON’s social media platforms, creates written, visual, and digital content, produces works of film, executes a variety of organization-wide campaigns, and upholds THON’s cohesive brand all while spreading our mission.

What do you want to implement in your position this year that’s different and differs from years past?

Within my position as the Public Relations Director, my team and I are exploring new content avenues like short-form, vertical videos on Instagram Reels and TikTok. Across all of THON’s social media, we have a following of over 200K — this is a huge audience of potential donors, childhood cancer advocates, and supporters with whom we can engage with relevant and inspiring content. I believe that THON’s social media platforms propel our mission beyond Pennsylvania and foster an online THON community with global reach.

Public Relations is unique in that there are a variety of portfolio-based positions in the disciplines of photography, production, and graphic design. Given that we are a student-run philanthropy (we do have to graduate, after all!) it is one of my goals to create “evergreen” content that can be used from year to year during periods of talent turnover.

Additionally, I created a new committee and captain structure this year, which I am eager to see grow in the coming years! The Media Development Committee (formerly known as “Promotions”) will create multimedia content on the THON blog, escort media contacts during THON Weekend, and ensure that the public remains informed about THON’s efforts.

What makes your committee so cool, fun, and/or important?

The work of Public Relations is, for many, the first touchpoint that people may have with THON. Whether it be our social media, a Family Focus video, or a sign in the HUB, Public Relations illustrates the endless potential of the work that THON does to support childhood cancer research and uplift our Four Diamonds families. What is so unique about PR is that no two positions are the same, and the captains serving in those positions have a unique set of skills to match! Public Relations captains have the opportunity to see their content on national news, connect with families through story-writing, or even work with social media influencers and the NFL.

What are the overall goals you hope to reach with your committee for THON 2024?

Through Public Relations’ mission-centric storytelling, our goal is to spread awareness of childhood cancer and of the life-changing support that THON provides to our Four Diamonds children and families. I hope to unify Public Relations’ four committees of Photography, Production, and Media Development (x2), through collaborative projects! It is my goal that PR’s multimedia content captures the collective hope that is felt in the Bryce Jordan Center, across Pennsylvania, and around the world!

Why do you THON?

I THON so that no parent will ever have to hear that their child has cancer. I am so inspired by the THON community’s year-round emotional support that provides a glimpse of normalcy to Four Diamonds families. I am grateful for the opportunity to work towards the day that a cure for childhood cancer is found and when children will get to grow up and live out their dreams! I could not be more excited for the strength, love, and hope that THON 2024 will see this year. I cannot wait for our eventual 46-hour celebration of when the cure for childhood cancer has been found!

What’s your favorite THON memory?

For the last two THON men’s hockey games, I had the opportunity to participate in the Teddy Bear Toss alongside Four Diamonds families. Seeing crowds of hockey fans pour into the arena with arms full of teddy bears to be donated to the Penn State Health Children’s Hospital was such a moving moment. On the ice, I had a blast gathering up huge teddy bears with Four Diamonds families, THON volunteers, and the Nittany Lion!

Per Onward State tradition, if you could be any dinosaur, which one would you be and why?

I would be a Pterosaur because they can fly! I love to travel and this would help me save a few bucks on airfare.

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About the Author

Haylee Yocum

Haylee is a senior studying immunology and infectious disease. She is from Mifflintown, PA, a tiny town south of State College. She is fueled by dangerous amounts of caffeine and dreams of smashing the patriarchy. Any questions or discussion about Taylor Swift’s best songs can be directed to @hayleeq8 on Twitter or emailed to [email protected]

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