AVOCA — Pittston Area students danced to raise both money and awareness for pediatric cancer on Jan. 27 during a Mini-THON event that drew about 150 participants to the dance floor at the Queen of Apostles Parish Hall.
The event, sponsored by the school’s National Honor Society, is modeled after Penn State’s Dance marathon (THON) held every year since 1973, with proceeds directed to Four Diamonds, a charitable organization based out of Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, whose only objective is to “conquer childhood cancer.”
National Honor Society member Avery Strucke had an additional motivation for participating in the event — she wants to be an oncologist, assisting those with cancer.
“I don’t know what area of oncology I would want to specialize in,” she said. “But, I’ve always known I want to help people with cancer.”
Avery’s mother Carrie Keller and many other parents were on hand, encouraging dancers, providing homemade food items and baked goods, and donating gift baskets for a raffle.
“I couldn’t be prouder of my daughter and the other students,” said Keller. “This is a good thing.”
Organizer Kearney Turant, a member of the National Honor Society, said the organization wanted to be original with this year’s project.
Turant said the organizers were in contact with the Four Diamonds organization and were grateful for the guidance they had provided.
“They told us how to raise money and provided us with a variety of THON-related items,” she said.
Thomas Dessoye, also a member of the National Honor Society, said he was dancing and helping out in any way he could.
“Just the idea of helping kids with cancer was a good one,” he said. “I like to help others in any way that I can.”
Nicole Bonczek said the National Honor Society had been preparing for the event since the beginning of the year.
She said student dancers were enjoying a variety of music from pop to country to rock and roll.
In addition to dancing, a basket raffle and the sale of food items, participating students enjoyed a hula hoop relay, the limbo, “glow hour” and a guest speakers.
Dancers were required to be on-site for the full 10 hours, but many took time away from the dance floor to assist in welcoming guests and providing necessary manpower.
“I know I’m going to be tired later,” said Dessoye. “But it’s absolutely worth it.”
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