Penn State University's largest philanthropy, THON, takes place the third week of February annually. To prepare, members of the Gamma Delta Chapter have been raising money through different fundraising events.
As a whole, THON raises millions of dollars to help find the cure for pediatric cancer while easing the financial burden of families struggling to help loved ones fighting battling cancer. To get a more personal perspective on the impact THON makes for these families, five seniors from the Gamma Delta Chapter, Alexa Pane, Jenna Hinkle, Kala Benjamin, Emily Francis and Jill Kennedy, traveled to the Hershey Medical Center with our partnered fraternity, Delta Tau Delta.
While there, the group met with a music therapist who explained the impact music has on their pediatric patients. She demonstrated what she does and how it affects the spirits of the children.
The group visited the research lab and saw scientists working to find the cure. Additionally, they met with a psychologist who talked about the different types of therapies he practices with the families to help them cope and the day-to-day struggles they face.
"The center also gave our group a breakdown on how the money we had raised the year before had helped the children," Christina Scavone, LAMP Editor and Historian, reported. "It had funded over 13 days of research, or over 518 days of outpatient treatment, or over 3,113 hours worth of music therapy. To be able to know exactly how our fundraising assisted these families and their children made the experience so meaningful."
The seniors who experienced this visit said it was humbling and the experience of a lifetime. "THON as a whole is a life-changing experience," said Christina. "But the seniors said that being able to visit the hospital and see where the money goes encourages us to do everything we possibly can to help."