Friday, May 17, 2013

Favorite Photo of Me

Day 17: A favorite photo of yourself and why

I don't think anyone who knows me would doubt that this would be the picture I chose. To fully explain why this picture means so much to me, I need to first explain THON. As I've mentioned before, I went to Penn State. During my four years there, the activity I was most involved in and impacted by was the Penn State Dance Marathon (known affectionately as THON). THON is the largest student-run philanthropy in the world. It is a year-long fundraising effort that culminates in a 46 hour no-sitting, no-sleeping dance marathon that takes place in our basketball arena.

What makes THON the largest philanthropy is not only the money we raise ($101 million since its inception, over $12 million this past fundraising year alone.), but also the umber of students involved. Thousands of Penn State students and alumni are involved with THON, either through their clubs/sports teams, or as members of the committees that make up THON's infrastructure. It's amazing when you walk into the arena THON weekend and see all these incredibly caring and passionate students coming together for a common cause, and that cause is the Four Diamonds Fund, THON's sole beneficiary. The Four Diamonds Fund was created by the Millard family in memory of their son Christopher Millard, who passed away from pediatric cancer. Today the fund, which is based at the Hershey Medical Center, not only pays for the treatment of all pediatric patients at the hospital, but also funds extensive research to find better treatments and work towards finding a cure.

The partnership between THON and the Four Diamonds Fund is not just about providing financial support for the fund, it is also about providing emotional support for the families being helped. The Four Diamonds Families (families of children being treated at Hershey) are loved and honored by the THON community. Families are adopted by student organizations and invited as guests of honor to events throughout the year. We celebrate with them in their triumphs and we mourn with them in their losses. We dote on the kids, we give strength to the parents, and most of all we make sure they know they're never alone.

And this brings me around to the picture above. It was taken my sophomore year during THON weekend. This beautiful little girl named Alison wanted to play makeover with us, so we took turns brushing lip gloss all over each other. You can tell how serious she was taking the task of doing my makeup, but her smile was radiant, and she was beautiful. I love this picture because it will always remind me of that day, of meeting Alison. It reminds me that no matter how hard it gets, there will still be days of complete joy, that light can be found in even the darkest of places.

P.S. if you read all of this, you are wonderful and I love you :)

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  1. Great photo!! Visiting from Story of my Life :D

    Chantal @ Scattered Seashells

  2. That's an awesome program. I think it's a great picture, and I can see why you chose it! There is a lot of joy in it.

  3. Wow. Beautiful. I've never heard of this program and it sounds amazing. I am so impressed that they are able to get all the college students involved and caring. What a great thing for them to be part of!!

    And Alison?? I just want to go give her a huge hug. You seem to be enjoying it to the max, and I'm sure she felt the love. <3