Hey, Jets Fans! Hope you are all enjoying the offseason!
I wanted to share with you the meaning behind 3 important letters for my alma mater. FTK, otherwise known as "For The Kids," is the motto for the Penn State Dance Marathon (THON) — the largest student-run philanthropy in the world. THON raises money to fight pediatric cancer and that money is donated to the Four Diamonds Fund, a charity helping to conquer childhood cancer through research and patient care.
Each October, THON season officially kicks off. Students begin fundraising through everything from direct mail/phone calls to standing on the streets holding a can. The campaign culminates in February with a 46-hour no-sitting, no-sleeping dance marathon held at the Bryce Jordan Center. The energy, compassion and emotions that are present throughout this event are difficult to put into words. The arena is filled with dancers, students, volunteers and friends as well as children and their families.
The final hour is a time to remember those we have lost, and to say it's incredibly emotional is an understatement. This is also when the total is revealed. This year's event took place Feb. 15-17 and raised $12,374,034.46, beating last year's total by almost $2 million. Since 1977, THON has raised over $100 million in the fight against pediatric cancer. Amazing.
To be a dancer in THON is a huge honor. I was lucky enough to be chosen in 2006. It was one of the most humbling, inspirational, emotional and rewarding experiences of my life — and man, did my feet hurt at the end. But being a part of a program this great is something I will never forget.