Penn State raises over $10M for THON 2017

STATE COLLEGE, PA. -- Hundreds of hardy Penn State students raised more than $10 million for pediatric cancer patients in the annual 46-hour dance marathon known as THON.

The $10,045,478.44 total was announced Sunday afternoon at the conclusion of the Penn State Interfraternity Council/Panhellenic Dance Marathon, billed as the world's largest student-run philanthropy.

"It just shows the power of Penn State students and what Penn State can do, and it's the most incredible feeling in the whole world," said THON executive director Austin Sommerer.

Up until the very end, the momentum and dancers only got stronger.

One dancer says the pain was so bad a shoe had to come off, but for these kids he was going to finish.

"My feet are absolutely killing me right now," said THON dancer Chris Gregorakis. "Very, very worth it. What we did here was absolutely amazing."

The crowd right there with them on every move.

The last four hours of THON were amazing and emotional.

A video called the Celebration of Life honors those who've passed away.

Another reminder of why everyone here does this.

Cancer survivor Astrid Garcia says THON brings her back every year and hopefully for college.

"Well now I'm going to start college, and I think I'm going to come here," said Garcia.

One dancer we spoke with after it was all over says she'd keep going if it meant she could continue to raise funds for the brave kids battling cancer.

"You can't even put words to it. Everyone, even after the total, wants to continue to dance, but we're just mind blown. It's... I'm speechless," said THON dancer Anshau Sinha.

Money raised benefits pediatric cancer patients and their families at the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.

Child cancer survivors and their families participate along with the dancers, who aren't allowed to sleep or even sit. The participants are also helped by thousands of other students in support roles.

The 2017 total was an increase over the $9.7 million raised last year. That total was significantly lower than the $13 million from the year before and the record $13.34 million a year earlier.

The event has raised more than $137 million since 1977.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. null
Copyright © 2019 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.