NittanyLion_THON_2021

The Nittany Lion mascot addresses a pumped crowd. This year's THON will be virtual because of COVID-19.

State College, Pa. - Penn State will kick off THON weekend this Friday in a virtual format. The annual event will begin Friday at 6 p.m. and run through Sunday at 4 p.m.

THON is the largest student-run philanthropy in the world, committed to enhancing the lives of children and families impacted by childhood cancer. The mission is to provide emotional and financial support, spread awareness, and ensure funding for critical research—all in pursuit of a cure.

Over the years, THON has enlisted 16,500 volunteers to raise $180,000,000 and help 4,600 families.

Though THON will have a unique look this year, the goal remains the same and spectators can tune in via the 46Live stream that is available through THON.org/livestream.

The Penn State IFC created an extensive virtual schedule which includes themed hours and student engagement activities to mimic a typical THON experience in a not-so-typical event. There will still be a virtual pep rally, dancer pageants, and the kid's talent show.

THON Executive Director Katie Solomon released a statement acknowledging this years hurdles. She said, “With nearly 50 years of experience and tradition behind us, our world was flipped upside down. However, what will never change is our ability to financially and emotionally support families impacted by childhood cancer. Nothing can take that away.”

The THON live stream will not distribute new content between the hours of midnight and 6 a.m. THON altered this year's approach from their typical 46 hours no-sitting, no-sleeping approach, due to not being able to ensure proper safety resources for participants in a virtual format. There are 592 dancers in this year's event.

Four Diamonds Executive Director Suzanne Graney also released a statement praising THON volunteers saying, “Every year THON strives to do as much as possible to raise funds and awareness to help our mission. In this year unlike anything any of us have ever experienced, THON volunteers inspired us with their resilience, adaptability, and courage. Much like Four Diamonds children inspire us in how they face and fight cancer.”

To donate to THON visit donate.thon.org. Additionally, any contributions intended to be made towards the 2021 THON total must be made prior to 11:59 a.m. on Sunday, February 21.

CLICK HERE for a full guide of this weekend’s THON’s virtual lineup.