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Penn State York Students Get Ready to Dance

2/16/2006 —

"For the kids," that's the mantra of more than 700 dancers and several thousand students who pull off the huge event know as Thon at Penn State, an event that has been raising money for children with cancer for more than 30 years.  George Kapterian, 21, and Isaiah Miller, 19, both students at Penn State York, are heading for State College over the weekend (Feb. 17 - 19) to participate in the Thirty-fourth Annual IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon, "Together We'll Prevail."   Thon, as the dance marathon is affectionately known, is the largest student-run philanthropy in the country and its goal is to raise money to help fight pediatric cancer.

The dancers were selected to represent the campus based on their participation in a variety of events to raise money for Thon.  Kapterian, of York, is a science major and this is his second time dancing at Thon.   He is the local Thon chairperson and is looking forward to completing the 48-hour, no sitting, no sleeping event for a second time.   Kapterian is confident he can complete Thon and is adamant about his reason for dancing.  "Raising money for children with cancer is an amazing cause and cancer has really hit home for me because my aunt has been fighting it over the past year," said Kapterian.   
 
Miller, of East Prospect and a nanofabrication manufacturing technology major, is taking to the Thon dance floor for the first time but shares his fellow dancer's commitment to the cause and confidence about completing the event.   

Kapterian and Miller hope to still be dancing on Sunday, Feb.19, at 7 p.m. when the marathon ends.  Dancers stay on their feet for 48 hours and get just five breaks, each lasting only three minutes.  Kapterian is a graduate of Dallastown High School and Miller is a graduate of Eastern York High School.

So, what are the dancers doing to get prepared to stay awake and dance for 48 hours?  Both Kapterian and Miller are trying to be on a regular sleeping schedule, cutting their sugar and caffeine intake, and trying to eat more healthy foods. Both have been exercising to strengthen  their endurance for the long dance..  Miller boasts he?s been practicing some dance moves that will win the hearts of men, women, and children throughout Rec. Hall.  Next year Thon will be take place in the larger Bryce Jordan Center.

The dancers will get support from students at Penn State York involved with Thon who have worked tirelessly to raise money and get the campus motivated for the big event.  Kapterian, Miller, and a few others will be heading to University Park on Thursday.  The big event gets started Friday, Feb. 17 at 7 p.m.

Last year the dancers raised more than $4.1million for the Four Diamonds Fund at Penn State Hershey Medical Center.  More than $30 million has been raised for kids with cancer since 1973.  For more information on Thon visit www.thon.org

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