Penn State's THON raises record breaking $12.3 million (PHOTOS)

Pictures from the 2013 The Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon, known as THON.
February 18, 2013 5:50:44 AM PST
More than $12.3 million dollars was raised at Penn State's THON 2013 to help put an end to pediatric cancer.

PHOTOS from THON 2013: Website or iPad | Wireless

16,000 people erupted in the Bryce Jordan Center Sunday afternoon at the end of this year's THON.

"No one has words, I don't even know what to say, this school is unbelievable," said Keren Benzeeb.

The year-long fundraiser came down to this weekend's 46 hour dance marathon.

Friday night, Action News was there to see more than 700 enthusiastic dancers make their first moves on the floor.

There were stage performances, group dances, and pep rallies to keep dancers energized.

As time ticked away, it was the faces of the children fighting cancer that really kept these students motivated.

"They can just forget about the chemo therapy and any other treatments that they have so to see everything culminate into this weekend is really a special experience," said Stephen Ciarocchi.

There was 7-year-old Emma Whitehead, who is in remission after being the first child to receive a new kind of gene therapy at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

Who could forget the smooth dance moves of 8-year-old Koan who is also in remission.

Little Becca is still fighting her Leukemia but thankfully she's not alone.

"They talk about the kids and how they inspire them but they truly give our kids a reason to smile and have fun," said Kate Tuckey, mother.

In those final hours, a concert had the place rocking to celebrate the determination to raise money for the Four Diamonds Fund.

The organization gives money to cancer research and patients at Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital.

These students can rest easy knowing they've made an impact on so many lives.

"Knowing you have something to fight for and dance for makes it a whole lot easier and it means more to you," said Zeb Thorson.

THON organizers say last year more than 96 percent of the money raised went to the Four Diamonds Fund.

Plans are already in the works for THON 2014 but first it's time to get a little sleep.

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