Findlay, Ohio,
05:32 PM

Marathon Petroleum supports THON

For nearly 40 years, Penn State students, alumni and friends gather each year for a 46-hour, no sleeping, no sitting, dance marathon called THON. They dance for the fun of it, but more importantly, they dance for children battling cancer.

“THON is said to be the largest student-run philanthropic event in the world,” notes Henry Matthews, a senior engineer at Marathon Petroleum Corporation (MPC) and team leader for MPC’s adopt-a-college relationship with Penn State. “The purpose of the event is to support families and children battling cancer, both financially and emotionally. This year’s event raised more than $13 million and involved 15,000 dancers.”

Since 1977, THON has raised more than $127 million dollars for the Four Diamonds Fund at the Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital, where the funds are used for cancer research and to provide superior care and comprehensive support. M&TE has supported THON for the past four years.

“When we recruit at Penn State, it’s evident that almost every student supports THON in one way or another through fundraisers or coordinated activities,” notes Matthews. “After those we recruit arrive at MPC, they maintain that passion. A common saying at our Adopt-A-College meetings is ‘FTK – For the Kids.’”

MPC’s involvement in THON began as a small annual donation. The team felt compelled to do more, and Marketing &Transportation Engineering Manager Nelson Almond supported their efforts. “Part of MPC’s donation now goes toward wristbands for all THON attendees and small, stress-relieving squeezie toys distributed at the THON event to children and dancers,” says Matthews. “We also receive a special invitation, giving us floor and booth access.”

Almost every member of the Penn State Adopt-A-College Team has contributed to this effort. Those who took part in THON events this past academic year included Brian Adams, Ashley Head, Jeff Kolodziej, Vickie Kramer, Tony Moore, and Karim Kabbara, who was also a key contributor through his contacts with the THON Executive Committee. “MPC’s Graphic Services [department] also provides tremendous support, creating artwork for the annual THON bulletin and website, along with special graphics for the moving, ribbon banner at the venue,” says Matthews.

Matthews also recently had the honor of receiving a special award on MPC’s behalf. “We were at a THON committee meeting discussing our continued support, and were presented with an Empower the Dreamers Award,” Matthews says. “We were surprised and honored, and we look forward to continuing our relationship with this great organization and worthwhile cause.”

If you wonder what THON looks like, see for yourself below!

Here are some impressive THON statistics:

  • 100% student run
  • 96% of every dollar goes directly to the fund, 4% goes back to the THON to run the weekend and events throughout the year
  • 700 participants stand, dance and don’t sleep for 46 hours
  • 15,000+ student volunteers
  • 400+ student organizations fundraise for the event
  • 350 captains, 3,500 committee members
  • Capacity of 17,000 people in Bryce Jordan Center
    • Arena was at capacity for majority of the weekend
  • THON was on national news broadcasts including ESPN and other major news stations
  • THON 2016 raised $9,770,332.32
  • There were over 100,000 unique webcast views during the weekend
  • 3,300+ families assisted by THON
  • 0 families turned away