Penn State’s “THON” Dance Marathon kicks off

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More than 700 Penn State student and alumni dancers started dancing for the 46-hour dance marathon at the Bryce Jordan Center Friday night.

It benefits “Four Diamonds” families like the Biancone’s from Reading, PA.

Michael Biancone’s daughter Natalie was diagnosed with Leukemia in 2007.

“She was a high risk case, and she was only 16 months-old at that time,” Biancone, said.

She had more two years of chemotherapy and was forced to go in and out of the hospital.

He says help from Penn State Health’s Children’s Hospital’s program, “Four Diamonds” was invaluable to their family from the beginning all the way through Natalie’s remission in 2009.

“We benefitted a lot from the “Four Diamonds”, not just stepping in and handling all the medical issues, which we had no clue how to manage any of that, they took care of all the financial issues as far as billing, provided therapists for Natalie, a lot of specialists, music therapists, they provided counselors…,” Biancone, said.

Penn State alumni, Ryan Lawrence, volunteered for THON all his years as a student.

He says his favorite part is meeting “Four Diamonds” like the Biancones.

“Seeing their story in real life is really awesome and it really puts into perspective the reasons why we do what we do, Lawrence, said.

“With everything that the “Four Diamonds” has done, they take care of the worries for families, they give them peace of mind and they give kids a second chance at life,” Biancone, said.

Last year, THON raised more $10.6 million, for “Four Diamonds” families. This year students are trying to top that.
The amount will be announced at the end of THON Sunday afternoon.

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