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Congratulating Penn State University Ifc/Panhellenic Dance Marathon

Rep. Joe Courtney

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Madam Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and agree to the resolution (H. Res. 1112) congratulating the Pennsylvania State University IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon (THON) on its continued success in support of the Four Diamonds Fund at Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital.

The Clerk read the title of the resolution.

The text of the resolution is as follows:

Whereas the Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon, known as THON, is the largest student-run philanthropy in the world, with 700 dancers, more than 300 supporting organizations, and more than 15,000 volunteers involved in the annual event; Whereas student volunteers at the Pennsylvania State University annually collect money and dance for 46 hours straight at the Bryce Jordan Center for THON, bringing energy and excitement to campus for a mission to conquer cancer, and bringing awareness to countless thousands more; Whereas all THON activities support the mission of the Four Diamonds Fund at Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital, which provides financial and emotional support to pediatric cancer patients and their families and also funds cancer research; Whereas each year, THON is the single largest donor to the Four Diamonds Fund at Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital, having raised nearly $68.9 million since 1977, when the two organizations first became affiliated; Whereas in 2010, THON set a new fundraising record of over $7.83 million, even after the previous record of $7.5 million was set in 2009; Whereas THON support has helped more than 2,000 families through the Four Diamonds Fund, is currently helping to build a new Pediatric Cancer Pavilion at Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital, and has helped suppport pediatric cancer research that has caused some pediatric cancer survival rates to increase to nearly 90 percent; and Whereas THON has inspired similar events and organizations across the Nation, ranging from high schools to colleges and beyond, and continues to encourage students across the country to volunteer and stay involved in great charitable causes in their community: Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the House of Representatives-- (1) congratulates the Pennsylvania State University IFC/ Panhellenic Dance Marathon (THON) on its continued success in support of the Four Diamonds Fund at Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital; and (2) commends the Pennsylvania State University students, volunteers and supporting organizations for their hard work putting together another recordbreaking THON.

Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from Connecticut (Mr. Courtney) and the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Thompson) each will control 20 minutes.

The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Connecticut.

Rep. Joe Courtney

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Madam Speaker, I request 5 legislative days during which Members may revise and extend and insert extraneous material on House Resolution 1112 into the Record.

Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from Connecticut?

There was no objection.

Rep. Joe Courtney

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Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Madam Speaker, I rise today in support of House Resolution 1112, which recognizes Pennsylvania State University's Dance Marathon fund-raiser for its enthusiastic continued support of the Four Diamonds Fund at Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital. This is an event which was first started in 1972. It raised $2,000 in that year, and since then has continued on an annual basis and has raised a staggering amount of money for an incredibly good cause, the Children's Hospital at the Hershey Medical Center.

I know the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Thompson), the sponsor of this resolution, is far more familiar with the history of this extraordinary effort than I am, and I would just as soon defer to him to talk about this resolution.

I reserve the balance of my time.

Rep. Glenn Thompson

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Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Madam Speaker, I rise today, proudly, in support of House Resolution 1112, congratulating the Pennsylvania State University IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon--or THON as it's referred to at Penn State--on its continued success in support of the Four Diamonds Fund at Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital.

Pennsylvania State University, or Penn State, is a public research university founded in 1855 as the Farmers' High School of Pennsylvania. The school was renamed Pennsylvania State College in 1875, and in 1889 it became Pennsylvania State University. Today, Penn State offers 160 different majors, and over 43,000 students are enrolled at the university's main campus in State College, Pennsylvania, just miles from my home town.

Penn State has a strong reputation for its academic, athletic, and civic excellence. It is known as one of ``the public ivies'' and also is known for its community involvement. The Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital at the Penn State Medical Center in Hershey, Pennsylvania, is the only Children's Hospital located in south central Pennsylvania and the home of the region's only level 1 NICU. The hospital is a leader in several specialties and has ranked higher than 90 percent in patient satisfaction.

The Four Diamond Fund for the Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital was established to conquer childhood cancer by assisting children and their families through treatment. The fund has helped more than 2,000 families by offsetting the cost of treatment and additional expenses incurred during treatment.

The Penn State Interfraternity Council and Panhellenic organize a yearly dance marathon known as THON to raise funds for the Four Diamond Fund. The first THON took place in 1973 and has raised more than $68.9 million since then. THON now has 15,000 student volunteers and is part of a year-long effort to raise funds and awareness. This year's THON raised over $7.8 million just last weekend for pediatric cancer patients. THON is the largest student-run philanthropy in the world and helps to make a difference in the lives of children with pediatric cancer.

As a proud Penn State alumnus and Member representing them here in Washington, I want to congratulate Penn State--the dancers, the students, the individuals who make the donations, and the organizations involved in the THON event. I want to recognize them for their commitment to helping others. Their activities have truly touched the lives of so many.

I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting this resolution.

Rep. Bill Shuster

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Madam Speaker, a little over a week ago, I spent a very memorable and moving afternoon watching Penn State students taking part in THON, the annual Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon. THON at Penn State is no small event. It remains the largest student-run philanthropy in the world which since 1977 has raised over $68 million for the Four Diamonds Fund at Penn State Children's Hospital to fight childhood cancer.

THON involves over 15,000 student volunteers from Penn State's University Park campus and its 19 commonwealth campuses. Over 700 dancers take part in THON's marquee event: a 46 hour dance marathon at the Bryce Jordan Center. Thousands of other students join in as moralers, family and public relations, entertainment, donor relations, finance, communication, hospitality, logistics, technology, rules and regulations, and `OPP'erations team members. These students' year-long efforts culminate in THON weekend--truly an amazing and uplifting sight to see.

All of the student dancers, volunteers and sponsors who participated in this year's THON deserve recognition from Congress and the thanks of Americans everywhere for their work to help end the scourge of childhood cancer. Their hard work resulted in raising $7.83 million this year, breaking last year's record of $7.5 million.

I am proud to say that my own daughter was among the hundreds of students who took part in THON 2010. Ali served on the Morale Committee ``Jule Runnings'' and helped lift the spirits of exhausted dancers, massage tired feet, and lead the hourly line-dance to keep everyone moving to stay motivated for their cause.

Penn State students are joined by hundreds of Four Diamonds Families from Penn State Children's Hospital who look forward to THON all year round. Four Diamond Families often develop lifetime friendships with the Fraternities, Sororities, and organizations that ``adopt'' them and spend time with them throughout the year. At THON weekend you will find the kids running throughout the event, participating in talent shows, playing games with the dancers, getting piggyback rides and even starting water-pistol fights with unsuspecting volunteers. The culmination of the weekend is Family Hour--when families share the struggle in the fight against childhood cancer with everyone in attendance. This was a deeply emotionally moving hour that brought the struggle of childhood cancer into a personal light. Some of the stories had happy endings, some did not. But each story was an inspiration to keep fighting for the cure for childhood cancers. These children and families are why Penn State dances.

THON is a life changing event for anyone who attends or takes part in the event. And while Penn State students are hoping to change the lives of children affected by childhood cancer, more often than not it's the students whose lives are changed by participating in THON. Love truly does ``Belong Here.'' We Are Penn State--For the Kids.

Rep. Glenn Thompson

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I yield back the balance of my time.

Rep. Joe Courtney

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Madam Speaker, again, I urge strong support of the resolution, and I yield back the balance of my time.

The question is on the motion offered by the gentleman from Connecticut (Mr. Courtney) that the House suspend the rules and agree to the resolution, H. Res. 1112.

The question was taken; and (two-thirds being in the affirmative) the rules were suspended and the resolution was agreed to.

A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.