Pittston Area students raise money, awareness for childhood cancer

By Geri Gibbons - For Sunday Dispatch
Clare and John Bonczek purchase t-shirts for the mini thon event held at Queen of Apostle Parish Hall in Avoca. - Aimee Dilger | Sunday Dispatch
Molly Fetchko, 11, dances during the first hours of the mini-thon planned by Pittston Area students. - Aimee Dilger | Sunday Dispatch
Pittston Area students dance during the Mini-Thon planned to raise money for childhood cancer. - Aimee Dilger | Sunday Dispatch
Dylan Kelly 16, wears a mini-thon wig and temporary tattoo at the Mini-Thon Saturday. - - Aimee Dilger | Sunday Dispatch
Gianna DePetropaolo has her face painted by Bria Brombacher at the Pittston Area mini-thon on Saturday. - - Aimee Dilger | Sunday Dispatch
Pittston area students dance during the mini thon event to raise money for childhood cancer. - - Aimee Dilger | Sunday Dispatch

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.”

Clare and John Bonczek purchase t-shirts for the mini thon event held at Queen of Apostle Parish Hall in Avoca.
https://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/web1_PSD020418minithon1.jpgClare and John Bonczek purchase t-shirts for the mini thon event held at Queen of Apostle Parish Hall in Avoca. Aimee Dilger | Sunday Dispatch

Molly Fetchko, 11, dances during the first hours of the mini-thon planned by Pittston Area students.
https://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/web1_PSD020418minithon2.jpgMolly Fetchko, 11, dances during the first hours of the mini-thon planned by Pittston Area students. Aimee Dilger | Sunday Dispatch

Pittston Area students dance during the Mini-Thon planned to raise money for childhood cancer.
https://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/web1_PSD020418minithon3.jpgPittston Area students dance during the Mini-Thon planned to raise money for childhood cancer. Aimee Dilger | Sunday Dispatch

Dylan Kelly 16, wears a mini-thon wig and temporary tattoo at the Mini-Thon Saturday.
https://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/web1_PSD020418minithon4.jpgDylan Kelly 16, wears a mini-thon wig and temporary tattoo at the Mini-Thon Saturday. Aimee Dilger | Sunday Dispatch

Gianna DePetropaolo has her face painted by Bria Brombacher at the Pittston Area mini-thon on Saturday.
https://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/web1_PSD020418minithon5.jpgGianna DePetropaolo has her face painted by Bria Brombacher at the Pittston Area mini-thon on Saturday. Aimee Dilger | Sunday Dispatch

Pittston area students dance during the mini thon event to raise money for childhood cancer.
https://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/web1_PSD020418minithon6.jpgPittston area students dance during the mini thon event to raise money for childhood cancer. Aimee Dilger | Sunday Dispatch
PA students raise money, awareness for childhood cancer

By Geri Gibbons

For Sunday Dispatch

Facts about Fort Diamond Mini-THONs

• Four Diamonds is a charitable organization based out of Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. Its ultimate objective is to “conquer childhood cancer.”

• Mini-THONs are modeled after the Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon (THON) and have been making a difference in the lives of childhood cancer patients and their families since 1993.

• Encourage teamwork, creativity and school spirit, while empowering young people to conquer childhood cancer

• Are multi-hour, interactive, student-run events to raise money for childhood cancer, while providing students opportunity to develop leadership skills outside the classroom

• Raised $23 million four Four Diamonds since 1993, with 70,000 students participating at 235 schools

Reach the Sunday Dispatch newsroom at 570-655-1418 or by email at sd@psdispatch.com.

Reach the Sunday Dispatch newsroom at 570-655-1418 or by email at sd@psdispatch.com.