Mini-THON 2018 smashes 2017 record by over $47,000

Video compiled by Justin Charles, courtesy of Dr. Samuel Getty's footage and contributed clips

Clayton Helstrom and Ann McHugh contributed to the article.

What a difference a year makes. A $47,120.54 difference, to be exact. That is how much more successful Cedar Cliff’s 2018 mini-THON fundraisers were, raising $106,188.09 for the Four Diamonds Fund to support families dealing with childhood cancer. The 2017 fundraising efforts garnered $59,067.55 for the cause.

Despite the large snowfall Feb. 17 and some initial concerns about whether to hold the event, hundreds of students brave the weather and came out to support kids with cancer.

Faculty adviser Amy Dando said everything went smoothly this year, even with the snow and some initial concerns about whether to cancel the event. “I was pleased with the leadership ability the students demonstrated to run the event.”

Several factors served to make the 2018 fundraising so successful. Corporate sponsorships increased from $13,000 to $31,000. 

“We all are so thankful for the corporate sponsors that put in large donations to help the cause,” faculty adviser Meagan Beekler said.

Donor Drive funds went from $6000 to $31,000. Co-president Grace Ghiazza credited using Donor Drive as a reason for the significant increase in giving. “Signing everyone up on Donor Drive allowed fundraisers to send out invitations to friends and family, who could then donate money to Four Diamonds directly online,” Ghiazza said. General fundraising events grew from $40,000 to $44,000.

Co-president Sophie Miller said she and Ghiazza worked to create more structure this year and to form more committees.  “Grace and I tried to organize better and create more events each month for people to fundraise.” The students started fundraising in the summer.

Before this year, Mini-THON had two overall committee heads with everyone else underneath them. This year Ghiazza and Miller set up multiple committees (registration, corporate sponsors, decorations, etc.), each with their own committee head. Ghiazza and Miller kept the two overall committee heads to make sure that all committees were doing their jobs.

Miller said being co-president was a valuable experience.  “It was a great way to learn how to be a leader and how to deal with people; how to properly communicate with everyone and work as a team.”

A popular event of the night included the man pageant.  “A lot of people seemed to enjoy the man pageant,” Ghiazza said.

Pageant winner junior Donovan Ball said competing was fun, especially because his friends also participated.  “I got to lip sync and dress up and do some other funny stuff.”  About winning the pageant, Ball said, “It felt pretty good because the winner was whoever raised the most money, so getting to do that was pretty cool.”

Ghiazza said karaoke in the lobby was also one of the event highlights.  “A lot of people seemed to participate in that.”

Mini-THON also included moving speeches from families affected by childhood cancer, line dances every hour, hair cutting to donate to Locks of Love, sports team lip sync battles, a team-based tournament, and much more. 

“The students put in an enormous amount of effort this year,” Beekler said.

Additional fundraisers included mini mini-THONS at New Cumberland Middle School and Highland and Hillside elementary schools that went extremely well, multiple restaurant nights, a Trick-or-Trot 5k, selling monkey bread at the New Cumberland Apple Festival, a bowling night, a Sky Zone night, auctions, volunteer work (shoveling, gift wrapping at Bass Pro) a faculty basketball game, a powder puff football game, and canning at the West Shore Farmer's market.

Dando said she thinks the kids really had fun.  “I think that’s the idea of the night.  You raise all of this money and it’s all going towards such a great cause. But then to see kids from very different backgrounds come together, that was a highlight for me.”

As for Miller’s final thoughts on Mini-THON, “I can’t speak for other students, but raising that much money to give to all of the kids was the biggest thing for me.”

Senior at Cedar Cliff High School. I really like music and writing.

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