Emily returns to THON 2013!

Photo: Emily “Emma” Whitehead poses with Devin Schiaffino, Mike Pendleton, and Chelsea Slavin, members of her THON organization (PRSSA – Public Relations Student Society of America). Devin and Chelsea were two of the 700+ who participated as THON dancers and did not sleep or sit for 46-hours straight to raise money for pediatric cancer patients.

Words never can describe the magic of THON weekend. After we missed THON last year one of our main goals was “to get Emily to another THON”. And we did! It was so exciting to be back! The THON community was such a huge support system for us over the past few years and particularly over the past year. THON raised $12,374,034.46 which is incredible. Thank you to everyone who donated!! Thank you to our dancers, Chelsea and Devin, who stood for 46 hours (THON dancers (all 700+ of them) do not sleep or sit for 46 hours straight)! Enjoy the photos! And THANK YOU to everyone who purchased the Emily Believe magnets to benefit THON! If you would like one you can still order them here.

THON Kids Mail Call

copyright-kari-whitehead-2012-6060 You can send Emily mail at THON for Kids Mail Call! (directions below)

In 22 days we will join 15,000+ Penn State students and other pediatric cancer families for the Penn State Dance MaraTHON! THON is magical and it’s our favorite weekend of the year. For us THON is much more than the money the students raise – they have become family. THON students are amazing and work incredibly hard all year long in their fundraising efforts and bring HOPE, JOY, LOVE, FUN, and SMILES to the kids fighting cancer. We will be posting more about THON over the next three weeks and sharing THON photos and our favorite THON memories.

We are part of the Adopt-A-Family program which means our family was paired with a PSU THON organization that wants to provide support and encouragement to us. Emily was ‘adopted’ two plus years ago by the Penn State Public Relations Student Society of America – PRSSA. They are the BEST! Our organization chose two members to dance in THON this year and they are: Chelsea Slavin and Devin Schiaffino! It takes a lot of physical and mental toughness to get through those 46-hours but we know Chelsea and Devin can do it – they will be EMMA STRONG. Over 700 other Penn State students will be chosen as dancers for the 46-hour no sitting, no sleeping dance marathon to raise money for pediatric cancer and we will be there all weekend to support them.

You can send mail to Emily at THON for Kids Mail Call. What is Kids Mail Call? On Saturday night of THON weekend, Emily will go up on stage and get mail sent to her from students, friends, and families!

You can send the mail to:
Emily (or Emma) Whitehead
c/o THON Kids Mail Call
210 HUB
University Park, PA 16802

You can also send mail and packages to Emily’s dancers to support them through the weekend! Let them know you are a friend of Emily’s. You can send our dancers mail at:

Attn: Mail Call
Chelsea Slavin – #297A and/or
Devin Shiaffino – #297B
210 HUB
University Park, PA 16802

Mail must be postmarked by February 5th. If you work at Penn State you can send the letters to 324 HUB and packages to 327 HUB. If you are not sure what to say, draw a picture or say a couple of words of encouragement! Read here for more info on what to put in letters and packages.

To support THON please visit www.thon.org (you are asked to choose a THON organization to credit – Emily’s org to credit is: Public Relations Student Society of America). All money from THON goes to the Four Diamonds Fund, which directly supports pediatric cancer patients at the Hershey Medical Center in Hershey, PA. Families supported by the fund are referred to as “Four Diamonds Families”. Some of the money goes directly to the patients and their families in the form of gas coupons (which was SO helpful to us back when we had weekly 2-hour round trips to Hershey for Emily’s appts), food coupons to use at the medical center during long stays (also handy since we lived there for months last year), prescription copays, and offsets the cost of treatment that insurance does not cover. The money also helped build the awesome new Children’s Hospital at Hershey Medical Center which opens this month.

THON Family Carnival 2012

On Sunday we attended THON Family Carnival – it was so much fun! For those of you not familiar with the Penn State Dance MaraTHON (THON for short) you can read more about it here: http://www.thon.org/About.

THON has events for the kids throughout the school year. September we went to Harvest Day, October was the THON 5K, and this month is Family Carnival. Emily spent the day with her THON family, playing games, laughing, and running around. The carnival always makes us really excited for the upcoming THON weekend in February. You will hear many of the kids say “THON weekend is better than Christmas”. We agree. We can’t put into words what THON weekend is like – it’s magical. You have to experience it to understand. We can’t imagine Emily’s cancer journey without the help and support of THON!

You can view the photos here: http://emilywhitehead.com/thon-family-carnival-2012/