Dancing to Save Lives

Photo | Submitted  The Urbana High School Mini-THON raised $34,624.18 this year to fight pediatric cancer.

Photo | Submitted
The Urbana High School Mini-THON raised $34,624.18 this year to fight pediatric cancer.

The fifth annual Urbana High School Mini-THON on April 27 brought the total raised this year to $34,624.18 for Four Diamonds at Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital. A large group of 80 to 100 participants were up and moving from 3 to 11 p.m. for the 2019 “Rise Up. Dance On!” Mini-THON in the UHS gym.

Four Diamonds Mini-THON empowers students to work together to fight pediatric cancer. The Four Diamonds motto is FTK, “For the Kids,” and all funds raised through Mini-THON events support childhood cancer research and assist pediatric cancer patients and their families with bills related to their care.

In the five years Mini-THON has been active at Urbana, the student organization has raised a total of $190,000 to fight pediatric cancer.

Seth Hajzus, executive director of 2019 Mini-THON and a graduating senior, worked alongside board members to plan the event and supervised it. He said that he hopes Mini-THON spreads to other schools in the area as it is a great cause and unifies schools to work together toward a common goal.

Hajzus has been in Mini-THON for four years and on the board for two. He said he has been inspired by “the dedication and support of the freshman and sophomore classes. They had some of the biggest fundraisers this year and a lot of them showed up to every event.”

His favorite event this year was the Student-Teacher Basketball game. “It has been in the works for over three years and was a huge success,” he said. The game raised just over $2,000.

This year’s Mini-THON was the first not to include anyone from the original 2014 Mini-THON student organization. Hajzus said, “It was really special to me to see the support of everyone on the board even though we didn’t necessarily start the organization and that we are able to continue it for many years to come.”

In addition to dancing, games and food, a luminary walk commemorated those battling and lost to cancer. Matthew Bryant spoke about his experience with the organization and his son, Tyler Bryant, who passed away from pediatric cancer.

Josephine Davis participated in Mini-THON this year. “My favorite part was how much money was raised and the handball tournament,” she said. She plans to participate next year and inspire others to get involved.

Gretchen Hoffman attended her first Mini-THON community hour five years ago, when she was in seventh grade. As a junior in high school, she has continued to take a greater role in Mini-THON and applied for a board position in “June of (her) sophomore year.” She plans to reapply this year. Hoffman said she would “definitely recommend it to anyone interested in going to Mini-THON, joining the club, or applying to the board. It’s a lot of fun and a lot of volunteer hours. Also, there are going to be some really big and fun changes to Mini-THON as a whole next year.”

Members of the community and students who did not register attended community hour from 5 to 7 p.m. Entrance was by donation only at the door and all proceeds went toward their cause.

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