Where Does MiniTHON Money Go?

By ADDISON MOSCO

During the school day, you might hear a lot about new fundraisers supporting miniTHON, but where does that money go? The money you donate to MiniTHON goes to the Four Diamonds Foundation. It is important that you donate to the foundation because it supports childhood cancer. Four Diamond’s mission is to conquer childhood cancer by assisting the children and their families through superior care, comprehensive support, and innovative research. 

Senior Hannah Baumer, a blue team captain,  comments, “I am personally donating money through a donation as well as my personal minthon calendar. Donating to the four diamonds foundation is so important because it directly helps to improve the lives of pediatric cancer patients at the Hershey Medical center. The donations that this foundation receives from us directly go to the families and pay for therapy, hospital stays, food, clothing, hotels, and any other expenses that these families have. The impact that this foundation has on these families is outstanding. The money that we donate directly goes to the families and that’s why the impact is so big. The most important part of donating is the impact that it makes directly on the families. This money gives the families hope and helps to ensure that their full attention and support goes towards their children and they don’t have to worry about anything else.”

Four Diamonds believes in a holistic approach to childhood cancer treatment. We treat the disease, but they also care for the child’s well-being and their family. Four Diamonds makes it possible for more than 30 specialty care providers to exclusively serve the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual needs of our patients and their families.

Senior Margaret Lowery, a pink team captain, states, “I have already donated change for change wars as well as donating my time to attending events and fundraising money. The Four Diamonds foundation is such a large organization that does more than just pay for childrens treatments. We watched a documentary at the beginning of the year in Leadership Seminar and it genuinely made the whole class emotional. We learned how involved the organization is and the students at Penn State THON are in the children’s life and how much the children value the friendships they create. The Four Diamonds was created in honor of a young boy who wrote a story about the four characteristics that make up the four diamonds. The money goes towards treatments, experimental trials, therapies as well as just support for families.

The most important part of donating is to know that no amount is too little. It is so true that every single penny counts. No amount is too small because you never know what will be the difference in curing childhood cancer and ultimately all types of cancer.”

"Team Support Diamonds" fundraiser purchased by IHS Teacher Mr. Puskar and displayed in the hallway next to his classroom door - Photo by Addison Mosco

In the U.S, 16,000 children are diagnosed with cancer each year, and more children die from cancer than any other disease. They have many specialists working for them to help the families and children cope with the diagnosis of cancer and work to cure them. The specialties include: 

Child Life: their child life specialists help children confront fears about their illness. Through the use of play therapy and distraction techniques, we work with patients and families to help them find ways to cope with the life changing effects of childhood cancer.

Clinical Nutrition: their clinical nutritionist is a valuable resource to families, assisting them with nutrition information that will keep their child as healthy as possible. Nutritional care also helps to reduce the side effects of therapy.

Clinical Psychology: their clinical psychologist helps patients and families with the unique psychological challenges presented by childhood cancer. Our services include: individual and family therapy, coping skills, relaxation techniques, bereavement services and referrals for psychological testing.

Pediatric Neuropsychology: their pediatric neuropsychologist pediatric neuropsychologist offers help to children, adolescents and young adults who may be struggling with cognitive impairment related to their medical diagnosis or treatments. An evaluation takes place to assess cognitive strengths and weaknesses in patients, in order to determine appropriate treatment interventions in the areas of education, daily functioning and emotional and behavioral needs.

Pediatric Oncology: their  pediatric oncology nurse specialists work exclusively with pediatric oncology patients through all stages of treatment, providing outpatient care, support and education. They are also skilled in the treatment protocols necessary for the long-term care of children, which allows our team to provide pediatric oncology patients with the highest quality of care possible.

Social Workers: their  social workers support families with their adjustment from diagnosis, into treatment and through survivorship. Together we serve as advocates for each family, addressing practical concerns including financial assistance, school needs, employment concerns, transportation assistance and healthy coping.

Music Therapy: their music therapists use therapeutic interventions, including playing instruments, singing, listening and song writing to promote adjustment to the hospital setting. These experiences are designed to help manage stress, alleviate pain, express feelings, improve communication, foster social interaction and promote physical rehabilitation.

Art Therapy: their art therapy empowers patients to use art to help in their healing process. Art therapy works to engage the mind and body in order to: support coping with hospital experiences, provide a safe outlet for emotional expression, promote feelings of control and instill resiliency and relaxation.

Pastoral Care: their chaplain integrates the spiritual needs of patients and their families into the plan of care, and notifies the entire team about family faith practices and how their faith may impact medical treatment.

Genetic Counseling: their  genetic counselors specialize in the discovery and explanation of a child’s personal and family history as it relates to their diagnosis of cancer. They are available to listen and understand what patients and families are going through  to help them make decisions. Optional genetic testing may answer why a child developed cancer, help screen for other cancers, guide treatment strategies and identify other family members at risk for cancer.

Isaac Myers, a team captain for the purple team, explains, “I have donated to Mini-THON many times and many different ways. A few ways I have donated are change wars, sporting events, online, etc. It is important to donate to the Four Diamonds Foundation because all of the money donated helps kids with pediatric cancer.  The money also helps the family and every penny counts.  If you donate you are always helping someone.  Families are impacted by each donation and personally I think that is the most important part of donating. Just knowing that you are helping someone is really special. I hope everyone has a chance to go to Mini-Thon and that everyone has a good time.” 

Four Diamonds provides comprehensive support to children and their families by paying for care and treatment not covered by insurance, as well as additional expenses that disrupt the welfare of the children.  Thanks to generous donors, Four Diamonds has been able to assist 100% of eligible childhood cancer patients treated at Penn State Health Children’s Hospital.

When you donate money to MiniTHON, it goes right to the families that are trying to cope with the diagnosis of cancer. It can really make a difference to the families and help the kids conquer cancer. If you have noticed diamonds around the school, they are for miniTHON. They are to encourage people to sign up or at least donate to the cause. 

Some easy ways to donate are signing up or participating in the many fundraisers that will take place in the months of February and March.  Fundraisers include: Uptown Cycling Fitness Classes, MiniTHON calendar race, MiniTHON buckets, MiniTHON jukebox, Change Wars, Commons Cafe Giraffe, and the Instagram Thrift shop. 

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