Measuring the Success of Thon
Imagine the effort it would take to collect more than $29,000 in charitable contributions today for a cause you deeply believe in. Now, imagine that you did it today, and tomorrow, and the next day, and every day after that for an entire year.

That, essentially, is what the students of Penn State did for families affected by childhood cancer.

The more than $10.6 million raised by Penn State students through Thon this year is a record. However, as a state lawmaker who hears the words “millions” and even “billions” bandied about during my daily work, that huge number fails to accurately depict this monumental achievement. Even breaking it down into the daily amount – more than $29,000 – does not do it justice.

The true worth of their work can’t be measured in dollars and cents. Instead, it should be measured in the number of smiles it will bring to the faces of children facing a terrible struggle against cancer. It should be measured through the small sense of comfort it will bring to parents as they suffer alongside their children. It should be measured in the research that will be conducted in an effort to eradicate the plague of childhood cancer.

The students who raised donations for Thon provide something more valuable than money to the children suffering from cancer. They provide these children with the hope that tomorrow may be the day that a life-saving cure is discovered that will make them well. They offer the hope to fathers of one day walking their daughters down the aisle on their wedding day. They offer hope to mothers that their children will one day overcome their cancer and go on to have a family of their own.

Doctors and researchers make progress every day at combating childhood cancer, in part with the help of funds raised through Thon. Some cancer diagnoses that were previously a death sentence for children can now be treated. All of these advancements take money.

However, you simply cannot put a price tag on the hope of a child or the comfort provided to a parent.

State Representative Kerry Benninghoff
171st District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Contact: Dan Massing
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