It was an ordinary day. Just pulled out my copy of the 2013 Manheim Township Middle School Yearbook to see if I could find the class photograph of a young man who was the center of a story in the morning newspaper (LNP). Nicholas Vicidomini was a graduating 8th grader when I placed his class photo in the yearbook that year. As I searched the rest of the book I found him in a photo of the 8th grade basketball team. Nothing very special about the boy in the yearbook, but the LNP changed all that when they told the story about Nick and his travails through early life with lymphoblastic lymphoma, an aggressive form of cancer.
When Nick was a 7 year-old he underwent three surgeries as well as eight months of chemotherapy. It was back in 2007 that Nick and his family first went to THON. For those not familiar with the Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon, commonly referred to as THON, it is a 46-hour dance marathon that takes place every February at the Pennsylvania State University in University Park, Pennsylvania with the purpose of raising money and providing emotional support to children and families in order to combat pediatric cancer. It was started in 1973 by Penn State University's Interfraternity Council. That year they raised more than $2,000 with 39 couples dancing for 30 straight hours. Today it is the largest student-run philanthropy in the world with millions raised every year.
The money is donated to The Four Diamonds Fund which is a charity devoted to defeating pediatric cancer through research and caring for patients and their families at the Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital. About three-quarters of the money raised is used by The Four Diamonds Experimental Therapeutics Endowment for research while much of the rest of the money is used for the young cancer patients family support.
|Nick's photo from his 2013 yearbook.|
|The official logo of THON.|