Thumbs up: To the hundreds of Penn State University students -- including several from Penn State York -- who stayed on their feet for 46 hours straight last weekend to during the annual Thon fundraiser.

Now in its 41st year, the dance event benefits the Four Diamonds Fund at the Penn State Children's Hospital in Hershey. Over the years, Thon has raised more than $89 million for Four Diamonds, which assists children with cancer and their families.

Penn State Yorkers Jimmy Clark and Kara Smith represented their school, as a reason to dance.

This was the first Thon event for Smith, a 22-year-old senior. She said that while the idea of staying up and not sitting for 46 hours is "kind of intimidating," she also felt honored and "beyond excited to participate in an event that helps people battle cancer."

For Clark, it was a way to give back.

In December 2008, he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a bone cancer in his right leg. He was treated at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center in Hershey. A surgery removing the tumor and saving his leg was done at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore.

"I'm a Four Diamond kid," Clark said. "They helped my family when I was going through cancer, and I've been involved with Thon since that time. To be on this end, to be giving back to everybody, just means the world to me."

Penn State York also raised money for Thon, setting a goal of $20,000, or enough to break its record of $17,000, said Barbara Dennis, the school's spokeswoman.



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