Local/State

Penn State THON raises $10,686,924.83

Sunday, February 19, 2012
Penn State THON 2012 Penn State THON 2012

Officials say the annual Penn State dance marathon has raised a record $10.68 million to benefit pediatric cancer patients, an event held for the first time without late coach Joe Paterno.

The record setting effort sent the Bryce Jordan Center into a frenzy.

"I'm honestly overwhelmed and I can't stop crying and I'm so excited and I can't believe this just happened," student Courtney Bentz said.

"We showed everyone this is the real Penn State and this is what Penn State is about; it's about these kids and it's about raising money so one day, no kid has to hear they have cancer," Megan McFadden of Northeast Philadelphia said.

The total shattered last year's record $9.5 million for the 46-hour event. It was announced Sunday afternoon to more than 700 dancers who began to tango and twist on Friday night to raise money for The Four Diamonds Fund at Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital.

During the final hours, fatigue set in. Muscles cramped, but the students rallied, lending a helping hand to comfort each other.

"I'm having a great time, obviously my feet are a little sore and a little tired, but it's been a great 46 hours and I wouldn't trade it for anything," Jessica Mitchell of Lancaster said.

The children and families THON has helped over the years took to the stage as the dance marathon entered its final chapter. Kids, like Caitlin Bernard and 16-year-old Christie Webb who've fought or are fighting cancer, provided inspiration.

"It was an opportunity to just be grateful for everything that Four Diamonds and Penn State and THON has done for the family," Christine Webb of Huntingdon, Pa. said.

"I'm doing great. I'm cancer free and it's just awesome to be here," cancer survivor Christie Webb said.

"It's just absolutely amazing. I don't think words can adequately describe it, just the feeling we are having here," Susanne Bernard of Elizabethtown, Pa. said.

Paterno, who was 85, died last month, less than three months after being diagnosed with lung cancer.

The Centre Daily Times says Paterno's son, Jay, told the crowd that Penn State students should be known for their leadership in the annual charity event rather than for the abuse scandal that has engulfed the school.

Here is the donation breakdown:

Greek Organizations

1. Alpha Tau Omega & Zeta Tau Alpha - $329,863.76
2. Lambda Chi Alpha & Alpha Sigma Alpha - $244,914.10
3. Acacia & Gamma Phi Beta - $181,577.79
4. Sigma Chi & Alpha Omicron Pi - $175,752.74
5. Pi Kappa Phi & Alpha Chi Omega - $161,374.31

Special Interest Organization

1. Atlas - $369,294.04
2. Ohana - $243,842.39
3. Springfield - $169,699.69
4. Pillar - $108,300.53
5. FOTO - 85,754.91
Commonwealth Campuses

1. Fayette - $87,942.22
2. Altoona - $82,872.57
3. Hazleton - $52,852.10
4. Abington - $41,695.96
5. Berks - $40,306.73

General Organizations

1. College of Earth and Mineral Sciences - $87,591.82
2. Phi Gamma Nu - $73,988.42
3. Phi Chi Theta - $70,487.53
4. Alpha Kappa Psi - $65,976.33
5. Club Swim Team - $58,499.67

For complete coverage of THON 2012, click here.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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