Altruistic Duo Make History as Penn College's First THON Dancers

Published 02.10.2014

Student News

Two Penn College students will be among the record-setting 711 participants in THON 2014, Penn State's 46-hour dance marathon to fight pediatric cancer.

Madeline A. Lusk, a physician assistant major from State College, and Kelsey J. Maneval, a nursing student from McAlisterville, were chosen to represent Penn College Benefiting THON, which has impressively made its presence known in less than six months as a recognized chapter.

Photographed during a recent THON "Gold Out" benefit in Bardo Gym, Kelsey J. Maneval (left) and Madeline A. Lusk sell (and wear) the charity's T-shirts, while putting a friendly face to the serious battle against pediatric cancer."Seeing our $13,300 total (so far) made all the hard work worth it, but now having the chance to dance and stand for 46 hours for the kids, is overwhelming – not just as another dancer, but as the first dancer pair ever from Penn College!" Lusk said.

This year's event will be held Feb. 21-23 in the Bryce Jordan Center on the University Park campus.

"Words cannot describe how thrilled I am to be one of the first two PCT students to dance at THON," Maneval said. "It truly is an amazing opportunity and I can only imagine how great it will be once we actually get there!"

The two recently attended a preparatory Commonwealth Dancers Retreat, which Maneval termed a "bittersweet tease" as to what the event will be like. Her anticipation grew as she was assigned a "moraler" – the person who will encourage her and keep her motivated throughout the THON weekend.

"After chatting with Carl for a while, I just cannot wait to meet him and everyone else from his organization," she said. "Maddie and I are planning to go to another meeting about THON this Wednesday, to meet our 'moralers' and others from their organizations, and I couldn't be more excited. "

The Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon has raised more than $101 million for the Four Diamonds Fund at Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital since 1977, and the two Penn College participants could not be more pleased or humble to join the cause this year.

"This triumph is not just mine and Kelsey's. It's all the students who canned, ran tables, gave blood, 'Jingle Jogged,' black-light danced and spent endless hours fighting for the kids," Lusk added. "I'm so proud to represent all the inspiring students who have made Penn College Benefiting THON successful!"

THON 2014 logoThe group will hold its final fundraiser Wednesday at Buffalo Wild Wings, in conjunction with the Penn College Construction Association. Tickets are available at the Bush Campus Center Information Desk that, when presented at the chain's local restaurant, will result in a donation to the clubs of 10 percent of each parties' check.

"I have truly been blessed by this opportunity and I hope that, because I dance, we will be able to raise more money to help little children in need and also to find a cure for this terrible disease," Maneval said. "I want each child to feel special and loved and there is no greater way."

Interested donors can also visit the THON Web page, click “Donate Now” and select Penn College as their organization of choice.