After just starting last year, IrvingTHON has raised over $1200 for the pediatric oncology department at UCSF Benioff Hospital. The funds go towards “aiding families of children affected by childhood cancer and funding research within the field of pediatric oncology” (IrvingTHON). The April SIA Jefferson Award for excellence in youth leadership in public service is awarded to Corinne Hansel, the founder and president of IrvingTHON.
THON began in Pennsylvania, and IrvingTHON is a six-hour event where volunteers would join together and stand their feet for the entirety of the event. This signifies a small portion of the suffering that children fighting cancer go through every day. Participants dance, watch performances, and compete in numerous activities organized throughout the event.
Inspiration behind IrvingTHON
Corinne grew up in Pennsylvania and always wanted to participate in the 24 hour mini-THONs that the local university would host. Her brother is a sixteen year cancer survivor, so she has always been heavily involved in both THON and Alex’s Lemonade Stand, a Philadelphia organization that raises money for childhood cancer research. Her brother and sister participated in THON all four years of their high school, and her brother was often a speaker at the events. Alex Scott, the girl behind Alex’ Lemonade Stand, was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a type of childhood cancer, and had the same doctor as her brother. Her family knew the Scott family well, and they worked closely with her foundation. However, after moving to California, Corinne knew she wanted to start her own THON at Irvington and partner up with UCSF.
Last year, Irvington hosted its first IrvingTHON which lasted for six hours and included music, food, sports, games, guest speakers, dancing, and grade-versus-grade competition. At the end of the night, it was revealed that they raised $900. This year, IrvingTHON has hosted three events so far: Rita’s fundraiser, toy drive, and coin drive. They have raised over $300 and 100 toys, and Corinne has begun to plan the second IrvingTHON.
Difficulties IrvingTHON Overcame
When planning the first IrvingTHON, Corinne overcame many obstacles, such as publicity for the events and getting more students involved. However, she was able to overcome this by publicizing on multiple platforms and partnering up with ASG to involve more of the student body in the planning process. This year, she hopes to reach out to more students to both help plan and attend the event.
This year, Corinne plans to host the second IrvingTHON and surpass last year’s goals. She hopes to host a smaller IrvingTHON near the end of the year and maximize the amount raised by decreasing expenses and hosting more low-risk fundraisers.
If you are interested in participating in this year’s IrvingTHON or learning more about this organization, please contact Corinne Hansel or visit the IrvingTHON Facebook page at https://tinyurl.com/irvingTHON.