Penn State students flooded downtown Westfield Saturday to raise money for pediatric cancer research.
Wearing sandwich boards with silver cans in hand, the students sought donations on street corners throughout the downtown starting at 9 a.m. Saturday. Their fundraising efforts will begin again at 9 a.m. Sunday and end between noon and 1 p.m.
Sarah Wells, of West Virginia, who stood on the corner of East Broad Street and Central Avenue with a can in hand, explained that www.THON.org is the largest student-run philanthropy in the world.
"Last year was the 40th anniversary," said Wells, who noted that in the first year of its existence the charity raised $2,600, while last year it collected a record-setting $10 million.
The money raised goes to the Four Diamonds Fund at Penn State-Hershey Children’s Hospital.
Wells said her sorority sisters go door-to-door each day in State College raising funds and additionally take three school-scheduled "canning" trips per year.
"We always come to Westfield once a year," said Wells, who added that shoppers and townspeople are always very generous. "We raise a couple thousand dollars over the course of the weekend."
During the third weekend of February, the philanthropy hosts a 46-hour dance marathon to support its cause but Wells said the bulk of fundraising dollars comes from canning trips and mailings.
Since its inception, THON has raised nearly $80 million in the fight against pediatric cancer.
For more information or to make a donation, visit www.THON.org or call 1-800-392-THON.