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Penn State's THON a Reminder There's Good News

Updated: Mar 23, 2022

Quote of the Week:

“Success is not final; failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.” –Winston Churchill

Fun Fact of the Week:

The shortest war in recorded history was the Anglo-Zanzibar War in 1896, which lasted just 38 minutes. Britain claimed rule over the east African state of Zanzibar in 1990, but when Zanzibar’s sultan died in 1996, a less submissive ruler stepped up. Khalid bin Bargash proclaimed himself sultan and refused to accept Britain’s rule, prompting battle.

Though the conflict lasted less than an hour, over five-hundred soldiers died. Bargash escaped to Tanzania, where he was later caught by the British and exiled.

News Update:

Via Photo by Matt Sniegowski | Onward State

As I sought news to write about this week, I continued to come across sad stories. First, I read the updates on Russia’s invasion and the bleak future that Ukraine faces . Then as I began to sift through college news, I saw an article on a boy from Arizona State who fell to his death while on spring break, and another about a car crash last night involving the University of Southwest men’s and women’s golf teams; several are dead (including the coach), though exact details have yet to emerge.

These stories not only deserve to be told, but need to be told. Ignorance of current events leads to uninformed decisions and a lack of empathy. At the same time, we need reminders of the good deeds being done. We need hope.

Today, I chose to write about Penn State’s THON event. The fundraising ended several weeks ago, but this collective commitment to raising money for cancer research remains amazing and inspiring.

According to Fan Nation, “The 46-hour dance marathon raised a record $13,756,374.50 for pediatric cancer research and treatment, a cause it has supported for 50 years. Proceeds from THON benefit Four Diamonds, a national non-profit fund that covers medical expenses for families experiencing childhood cancer at Penn State Health Children's Hospital and supports the Penn State College of Medicine's cancer research program.”

Over 600 people danced the entire duration without sitting or sleeping. In total, over 16,500 student volunteers were involved, and the total money raised since THON’s inception surpassed $200 million. The fundraiser serves as a reminder to us all that amidst the bad news, there are uplifting stories too.

Fan Nation contributed to this article.

Sports Update:

Tomorrow marks the start of the NCAA women’s swimming and diving championships. Though many are looking forward to the slew of competition, one issue stands above the rest: the inclusion of Lia Thomas.


Thomas was born biologically a man, but at the end of her sophomore year she began transitioning into a woman. She is now a senior at UPenn and, by all rules set by the NCAA, legally allowed to compete as a woman. Her dominance in the 100-yard, 200-yard, and 500-yard freestyle competitions (she owns the fastest NCAA time this year in the latter two) has led to outrage.

Some have spoken for her, many against, including her own teammates. Though she is not the first transgender to compete in the NCAA or even be successful, no one has sparked conversation like her.

Regardless of your opinion, regardless of how the NCAA ends up handling transgenders in the future, Thomas will be in the water. Whether her performance causes more transgenders to compete, or ends transgender competition in women’s sports, it will be a performance worth watching for its place in history.

ESPN contributed to this article.

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