Ask anyone associated with Penn State University and they’ll tell you that “FTK” is an acronym meaning “for the kids,” but to me, “FTK” means inspiration.
“FTK” is the rallying cry for those associated with THON, the Penn State University IFC Council / Panhellenic Dance Marathon. This year, students involved with THON raised $10.7 million for the fight against pediatric cancer.
You read that correctly – $10.7 million – a remarkable and awe-inspiring accomplishment, one that each of us can draw on for inspiration as we face the challenges of building support for the organizations and institutions with which we are involved.
Any way you slice it, THON is impressive. Students are active all year long organizing the series of fundraisers and activities that culminate in the annual THON weekend. Individuals and student organizations compete for the opportunity to dance by raising money. The annual THON finale is the two day, no sitting, no sleeping dance marathon; this past weekend, 708 Penn State students representing dozens of student organizations danced for 46 hours straight!
The dancers are just the proverbial tip of the THON iceberg. More than 15,000 students work throughout the year on committees and in the student organizations to make the effort successful. They also build relationships with families that have kids who are fighting cancer and help support those families in the struggle. THON is the largest student-run philanthropy in the world and shows what can be done with energy, commitment, inspiration, organization, drive, and a lot of hard work. It’s not a one-time phenomenon, either. Since THON’s founding in 1973, Penn State students have raised more than $88 million to provide emotional and financial support for kids battling cancer at Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital.
All of us, especially those who work in advancement, need sources of inspiration and motivation. THON shows us what can be accomplished when people who care get behind a goal and commit to making things happen and to having some fun in the process. In the midst of difficult economic times, as we face new challenges and new demands, the simple truths that define THON and the strategies that make it a success are inspiring.
We should all be grateful for what THON organizers, dancers, volunteers, and the thousands of donors achieve in the fight against pediatric cancer. They are making a real difference for the kids and their families.
Beyond that, we should be thankful for the inspiration THON offers all of us who care about and work to support organizations and institutions that make the world a better place. Thank you to all involved with THON for everything you do FTK – and keep dancing!
Any problem in the world can be solved by dancing. – James Brown
- Penn State Students Once Again Raise Funds To Fight Childhood Cancers (philadelphia.cbslocal.com)
- Thon-largest College Philanthropy Breaks Record (pennstatetrustee.com)
- Penn State Dance Marathon Raises $10.68 Million (philadelphia.cbslocal.com)
- THON 2012 Makes an Impact (booksiswonderful.wordpress.com)