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THON 2024 Prepares To ‘Treasure Every Adventure’ In Pre-THON Press Conference

A few hours before dancers prepare to stand for the 52nd annual THON on Friday, members of the THON Executive Committee and Four Diamonds executive members addressed the media in a pre-THON press conference.

THON 2024 Executive Director Will Vincent and Public Relations Director Maddie Fisher were joined by Four Diamonds Executive Director Suzanne Graney and Stacia Swan Millard Bird, the sister of Christopher Millard and daughter of Four Diamonds co-founders Charles and Irma Millard.

Fisher expressed her gratitude for the members of the media who work to spread THON’s mission and its stories all across the globe before giving Vincent a chance to speak.

Vincent emphasized how hard student volunteers work to make THON happen each year.

“The student volunteers that you’re going to see all weekend long in their on-shift shirts work tirelessly all weekend to make sure this organization is running and this event is running safely and smoothly. The students are going to class during the week and doing homework, and then in their free time running this massive organization. It’s something that is truly, truly remarkable,” Vincent said.

Graney has served as the executive director of Four Diamonds since 2010. The organization acts as THON’s sole beneficiary and supports children and families in their fight against childhood cancer.

“I’m always so proud when we get to this moment,” Graney shared. “We’re getting ready to launch the weekend knowing how much work it took to get here and how much it means to the kids and families.”

Graney expressed her appreciation for all that THON Weekend provides to families.

“They get to come here and let their hair down and be kids,” Graney said. “They just get to be here and forget about having cancer. They get to just play and have a good time, and that’s the experience that you worked so hard all year to make happen for these families. There’s so much love and hope and spirit that’s in this building.”

Finally, Bird explained how much support THON truly provides. Four Diamonds was created in her brother Christopher’s honor following his three-year battle with cancer.

“Back when Chris was sick and he died, there was nothing,” Bird said. “We were on our own, so there was no family support, and it was awful. It was really hard… It affects the whole family. So it’s wonderful to see that we’ve been able to provide that kind of support.”

Vincent closed out the press conference by emphasizing that THON provides much more than financial support.

“[Families] talk about Family Carnival, they talk about being at THON Weekend and how their kids all year long are talking about, ‘When can we go back to Penn State?’ Things like that are not going to be in the number that goes up at the end of the weekend. Those experiences, those memories that they share, those are not going to be represented in whatever that figure is,” Vincent explained.

“Obviously we’re very, very proud of what we are able to provide financially, but all year long the support, the experiences, the memories, all of that is to support our families and that’s a big part of our mission is that emotional support and making sure that they know that they’re supported.”

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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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