Penn State's 2014 THON Sets Fundraising Record

James Sharer is a member of THON's Rules and Regulations Committee.

Online PR News – 15-July-2014 – University Park, Pennsylvania – James Sharer is a pre-med student who sits on the Rules and Regulations Committee for the Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon, a year-long program that raises funds in the fight against pediatric cancer.

The program, which is known by the affectionate nickname THON, had a banner year in 2013, when it raised a record $12.37 million. Ninety-six percent of those proceeds went to the Found Diamonds fund for children being treated for cancer at Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital. But as stellar a year as 2013 was, the THON event smashed its own record in 2014 by raising more than $13.43 million.

As a member of THON's Rules and Regulations Committee, James Sharer is committed to providing safety and security to the children, families and volunteers of THON and the Four Diamonds Fund. The Four Diamonds fund was established to pick up where insurance for cancer treatment leaves off. At the conclusion of the 2014 THON, organizers praised the Fund, and those who have benefited from it. "Four Diamonds families redefined what it means to be courageous, dancers redefined what it means to be strong, and everyone ... redefined what it means to be a family."

Rules and Regulations Committee members like James Sharer maintain the THON mission by ensuring the safety of THON families, dancers, and spectators. Most members are placed on either a Security Committee or Pass Team Committee. Rules and Regulations Committee members are one of the only committees that are allowed in every area of Penn State's Bryce Jordan Center, where the dance marathon is held.

Committee members attend committee meetings and events and may take part in fun team-building activities outside of the meeting room. About the only drawback to serving on the Rules and Regulations Committee is that James Sharer, like the rest of the committee members, was not eligible to be a dancer in the dance marathon.

As James Sharer knows, THON has raised more than $114 Million since 1977. The program engages more than 15,000 students across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania each year. The dance marathon is a no-sitting, no-sleeping event.

As a pre-med student who is active in the THON campaign, James Sharer knows as well as anyone how serious an issue pediatric cancer is. According to the National Cancer Institute, pediatric cancer is the leading cause of death by disease in children and adolescents in the United States. More than forty thousand children undergo treatment for cancer every year, and about twenty percent of the children who are diagnosed will die either from the cancer, from an accompanying cancer, or from complications from treatment.

The American Cancer Society says that the cause of most pediatric cancers remain a mystery and cannot be prevented. The number of invasive pediatric cancer is up twenty-nine percent over the last twenty years. Unfortunately, cancer treatments can affect a child's growth, fertility, and endocrine system, and survivors may be permanently immunologically suppressed.
James Sharer is planning to go on to medical school once he has completed his undergraduate coursework. He has maintained a 3.74 grade point average at Penn State, and has been named to the Dean's List on three occasions.

About: James Sharer sits on THON's Rules and Regulations Committee, and helps raise funds to fight pediatric cancer.