Students at Elizabethtown Area High School set out to raise $85,000 to fight children’s cancer. Mission accomplished — and then some. The 12-hour dance marathon that began Friday, March 16, and continued into the following morning raised $85,717.50 for the kids.
The 10th annual Mini-Thon had a superhero theme this year called “Not All Heroes Wear Capes.” Student dancers participated in competitions, danced, sang, played games all night, while standing and patiently waiting for the final fundraising reveal at 7 a.m. on Saturday morning.
The money raised by dancers and donated by local business sponsors goes to the Four Diamonds Fund to finance pediatric cancer research and help families of children with cancer take care of medical costs. Four Diamonds-sponsored families never see a cancer related medical bill during treatment through Penn State Children’s Hospital in Hershey.
Mini-Thon is especially connected to Elizabethtown because years ago an 11-year-old boy named Chris Millard, from the Elizabethtown Area Middle School was diagnosed with cancer. While battling, this boy wrote a story about a brave knight who had to conquer a challenging quest using Courage, Wisdom, Strength and Honesty to help him overcome the evil sorceress. These characteristics are what Chris believed were needed to overcome cancer. Unfortunately, cancer took Chris’ life. However, he has become an inspiration to so many. In honor of him, the Millard family shared his story creating the Four Diamonds to assist and show the families that they are not alone.
Started in 1973, the Four Diamonds has grown into the largest student-run philanthropy in the world. One of the first patients to ever benefit from the Four Diamonds fund 40 years ago was from a family here in Elizabethtown. That patient is now a physician.