I just spent the most inspiring and challenging 12 hours of my life with about 500 Milton Hershey School students and staff. We held our first ever Mini-THON to help raise money for pediatric cancer research. Mini-THON is a marathon event that prohibits participants from sitting down, sleeping or "resting" for an extended period of time. Penn State University's THON event up at Happy Valley's University Campus runs for 46 hours straight! High schools that host THON events only max out at 12 hours.
THONs all over the state of Pennsylvania (and now other states getting in on the action), help raise money for the Four Diamonds Fund of the Penn State Hershey Medical Center. The Four Diamonds got its start from a young man, named Christopher Millard, who battled cancer and eventually lost his fight to it at 14 years old. During his battle he penned a fable called the Four Diamonds where he was a knight battling an evil sorceress (cancer). As a knight, he collected four diamonds named courage, wisdom, honesty, & strength in order to defeat the sorceress (or his cancer).
As a curriculum writer for character and leadership, I read about and research these virtues every single day. But what I witnessed in the past 24-hours was short of a miracle. Students encouraging others to stay on their feet for suffering children, back aches and sore feet that turned into smiles and cheers when it was revealed that $80,423.15 was raised for dear families in need, tears during the luminary walk's display of loved ones. And the grand finale of our glowing cell phone lights spelling out "FTK" on the field below our stately school--Catherine Hall.
Yes, I slept most of today and my carcadian rhythm will be off for a bit, but it was worth it to "suffer" a bit for others--indeed I do not do it enough...