Saving and Changing Lives: Mini-Thon event returns to Carlisle


Ashtyn Cartwright

FOSTER THE MAGIC: This photo was taken by PennState Freshman Ashtyn Cartwright during their THON. THON was accompanied by the theme “Foster the Magic”, featuring students holding up diamonds with their hands to support the event and organization.

Jillian Grimes, News Editor

In the U.S. 16,000 children are diagnosed with cancer each year, it is the prime cause of childhood death, according to PennState Health’s Four Diamonds’ program.

Four Diamonds’ approach to childhood cancer is covering all of the child’s medical expenses, that their insurance does not cover, related to their cancer care. Four Diamonds’ has been able to assist 100 percent of the aid needed for medical bills of children treated at Penn State Health Children’s Hospital.

Since the program launched in 1972 they have been able to aid 4,800 families along with supporting the Penn State Hershey Medical Center and Penn State College of Medicine, to enhance treatments and seek out cures to benefit children around the world.

According to their “About Us” page, “Four Diamonds’ mission is to conquer childhood cancer by assisting kids treated at Penn State Health Children Hospital and their families through superior care, comprehensive support and innovative research”.

Returning to CHS this year is Four Diamonds’ Mini-Thon event. 

A spin off, on PennStates THON, a public event open to everyone who chooses to attend, covering an entire weekend of events, where they also are not allowed to sleep for the 48 hours as they are attending THON. The months leading up are filled with student sports teams and organizations that set donation goals accompanying prizes involving those involved within that group, such as getting egged or pied or to complete some sort of challenge. 2023’s THON collectively raised a record setting $15,006,132.46, since 1977 PennState alone has raised over $200 million for Four Diamonds’.

 CHS’s Mini-Thon will occur on Wednesday April 5 in the Swartz Cafeteria and Gym from 4pm to 9pm, where like THON students are not allowed to sleep, kicking off the 2023 Spring break.

Robert Dutrey, Freshman class advisor, commented on the assortment of activities and events taking place at Mini-Thon.

We have things planned at this time, such as the pie eating contest. We are working on getting a live Heardle style game with prizes, a Knock-Out tournament in the gym and of course the non-stop Dance Party through the whole event,” said Dutrey.

Adding on a calling to CHS clubs for any additional aid. 

“We’ve got a few more ideas that we need to work out some logistics for first and would love to hear from any school groups or clubs that would like to help make this evening amazing!”

 A permission form is needed to participate, signed by a parent/guardian as by the student engaging, alongside a $25 minimum donation to Four Diamonds’ and a $12 admission fee for the event itself, totaling $37. The last day for students to turn in permission forms/admission fees is Wednesday March 15 by the end of the school day; donations can either be collected via DonorDrive or given to Mr. Dutrey (N319) or Mrs. Smetana (N311).

Accompanying the money raised being donated to the Four Diamonds’ program, there is a teacher reward offer to each major donation goal that CHS reaches from Freshmen and Sophomore English teacher Brennen Dickerson.

$5,000- Shave his head during the Mini-Thon event.

$7,000- Shave his beard.

$8,000- Trim/Shape his beard into an ‘embracing’ style, keeping it the entire month of April.

$9,000- Dye his beard an ‘obnoxious’ color, keep it for all of April.

$10,000- Shave his beard and head. 

In the weeks leading up to Mini-Thon there have also been an assortment of Restaurant Nights. Where students and/or community members are able to go to select businesses during designated hours and tell the cashier BEFORE checking out that they are supporting CHS Mini-Thon, and around 20% of their bill will be donated to Four Diamonds’. 

Max Marra, a freshman at Elizabeth town, previous CHS student and Four Diamonds survivor said this about Mini-Thon.

“The money Mini-thon raises is valuable. What is equally important is you going out and being a part of something, actively going out of your way to help others. Those actions are equally important”.

Marra further expressed what Mini-Thon means to him, aside from the event itself.

“[Mini-Thon is] that chance to help someone whose life has been changed”.

For further updates on Mini-Thon students can either sign up for Remind texts with the code (@chsminithn) or follow the CHS Mini-Thon Instagram page (@cluvminithon).