Sandusky sickos? Tell me ‘we are’ better than that
Ireveled in the feeling of small town life on Saturday as I took photographs of teams of people painting Halloween windows in Newtown. It’s the kind of event that makes you feel good about living in Bucks County. But in an instant that feeling was taken away by an insult shouted from a car window as it passed by a group of Penn State students raising money for THON, a student-run dance marathon held every February at the university to help fight pediatric cancer.
I shook my head as the words, “Sandusky sickos,” pierced my ears and those of the Penn Staters.
They also fell on the ears of a group of middle school-age Girl Scouts painting a Halloween scene on the front windows of a nearby building. I overheard one of the young girls say, “Yeah, he is a sicko,” not realizing that the insult was directed to the Penn State students standing nearby. I’m glad they didn’t make the connection, but felt sorry for the THON solicitors.
I’m sure many more people gave, and gave generously on Saturday than threw insults out of car win- dows, but it bothered me.
So I approached two of the Penn Staters and took their photograph for the newspaper to give them a little extra publicity. I also dropped some money into their bucket and apologized for the ignorant, uncaring words they had to hear.
The students didn’t seem fazed. They had a more important mission in mind – raising money for the fight against pediatric cancer. 0y guess is that they’ve grown accustomed to the Sandusky insults, which sadly and through no fault of their own will follow them throughout their years at Penn State and beyond.
What that uncaring, insensitive person in the car doesn’t get is that THON, otherwise known as the Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance 0arathon, is the largest student-run philanthropy in the world. That, to me, says a lot about the caliber of Penn State students and their commitment to helping others, especially children.
While you only see the THON canisters at this time of year, THON is a yearlong effort to raise funds and awareness for the fight against pediatric cancer that culminates in a dance marathon held every February that’s broadcast live around the world via the Internet. And here’s what’s really impressive. Since 1977, THON has raised more than $89 million for the Four Diamonds Fund at Penn State’s Hershey Children’s Hospital. Its mission is to conquer pediatric cancer by providing emotional and financial support to the children, families, researchers and staff of the Four Diamonds Fund
So the next time you see the Penn State students standing on the corner with those familiar blue and white canisters in hand, consider giving. Your mon- ey will be going to a worthy cause and you will be showing – by your donations - that we do care despite the Sanduskys of this world and the uncaring, anonymous people who think it’s funny to hurl anonymous, ignorant insults out of car windows.
Way to go, Blue and White! heep showing the world, like you have since 1977 and for many years before that, that Penn State students and alumni care.
For more information about THON, visit www. THON.org.
Penn State students Scott Susanin of Bryn Mawr and Kate Palmer of Erie solicit for THON and the fight against pediatric cancer along Newtown’s Sycamore Street.