Mini-THON raises money and awareness
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One of Neshaminy’s newest annual events is Mini-THON. It is Neshaminy’s take on a classic Penn State tradition–a fundraiser for children with cancer that is capped off by a day of fun activities, guest speakers, and specialized theme hours.
Money raised by Mini-THON is donated to the charity Four Diamonds. Four Diamonds provides financial assistance to Penn State’s children’s hospital. The organization helps the parents of children who are suffering from cancer pay for medical bills that are not covered by insurance and helps them find state-of-the-art treatment options.
On its website, Four Diamonds describes Mini-THON as “fun-filled events for students of all ages that inspire teamwork, leadership and creativity, while empowering young people through philanthropy and service in the fight to conquer childhood cancer.” Neshaminy’s Mini-THON was modeled after Penn State’s “THON,” which has been helping childhood cancer patients almost 40 years.
Mini-THON was brought to Neshaminy last year by seniors Abby Bedesem and Maria Palmieri, and it was a huge success.
“Last year’s total was 15,002.82 dollars,” Mini-THON adviser Kim Aubrey said.
After such a successful opening year, Mini-THON is only looking to grow. The goal of Mini-THON’s executive committee is to raise 25,000 dollars, which is only monetary. Their real goal is to “to spread awareness about pediatric cancer and what can be done to fight it,” Aubrey said.
Mini-THON is more than just a one-day event. The executive committee has been meeting once a week since the start of the school year to get ready for Mini-THON, Aubrey explained.
“In order to have a successful Mini-THON, we must plan many engaging fundraising events,” she said. “The event that happens on May 6 will be a celebration of a year’s worth of fundraising efforts.”
Class of 2018 Historian, Logan Donahue, as well as other students, are in full support of Mini-THON. “We really want everyone who can help to do it; it makes everyone feel good about themselves,” Donahue said. “Like we say, it’s for the kids and knowing it’s for the kids makes it all worth it. I’m looking forward to see how much money we raise compared to last year and hopefully just keep it increasing! It’s a wonderful organization and it’s for a great cause.”
Four Diamonds, the organization that started Mini-THON, was created by parents of the late Christopher Millard who died at the age of 14 due to pediatric cancer. His parents started Four Diamonds, which was named after a story he wrote shortly before he died. The story was about a knight having to collect four diamonds to help him free himself from the evil sorceress. The diamonds represented honesty, wisdom, courage, and strength. Charles and Irma Millard wanted to help prevent other parents and children from going through the pain of pediatric cancer.
“I never realised the positive impact that hosting a Mini-THON would have on our school community and the community at-large,” John Gilda, a teacher and Mini-THON adviser at Springfield High School, said on the Four Diamonds website.
Throughout the year, the Neshaminy Mini-THON committee plans to have creative fundraisers, information sessions, and workshops to help each student reach their fundraising goal. For example, Neshaminy teachers participated in No Shave November to help raise money for Mini-THON. Fourteen male teachers volunteered to not shave their facial hair in order to raise money for Four Diamonds.
The money collected during Mini-THON will help families all over the country.