MINI-THON raises almost $12,000
MOUNT CARMEL - Coordinators of the inaugural Mount Carmel Area "Mini-THON" held Saturday at the Mount Carmel Junior-Senior High School were overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from students and the community.
In fact, the 12-hour event raised $11,840.78 for the Four Diamonds Fund, which provides financial, medical and pediatric cancer research support. The amount far exceeded the goal of $5,000 set by alumni Cassandra Niglio, 20; Sami Spieller, 20; Rachel Niglio, 21, and Cassie Mace, 20, all coordinators for the event.
"I was speechless. Absolutely speechless," Cassandra Niglio said following the announcement of the final tally. "I did not expect this much enthusiasm and pride."
Niglio, who also co-created a talent show that raised $7,518 in three years for the American Cancer Society, Spieller, Rachel Niglio and Cassie Mace
led a team of 45 volunteers who kept the event running smoothly. The young women stayed busy throughout the day going back and forth between the high school and elementary gyms where different activities were held every hour. When it was possible, they stood near the front of the gym leading people in a group dance.
A total of 70 teams, each consisting of two people or more, with a combined attendance of at least 300 people, participated in the event that was conducted with authorization from THON. Activities included dancing, games, guest speakers and a luminary that honored people who are or were affected by cancer.
Cancer survivor Lynn Brobst, 29, of Minersville, and her family were invited to speak about their experience with the Four Diamonds Fund. Brobst, who was diagnosed in 2001 with leukemia when she was a senior at Pottsville Area High School, said her family received financial and emotional support from the fund, which they previously knew nothing about.
Lynn's mother, Patti, said the fund paid for gas, food and 16 neupogen shots that Lynn's brother, Robert, took in order to provide his sister with stem cells. These shots were not covered under their health insurance.
Lynn said of the Mini-THON, "It's inspiring and phenomenal. It's amazing."
Cassandra Niglio praised everyone who made the event possible, especially student leaders, student advisers, Mount Carmel Area Superintendent Bernie Stellar and Lisa Varano, high school principal.
"The four of us (Spieller, Rachel Niglio, and Mace) came together to make this possible," she said. "We all have known someone affected by cancer. We are doing this for them and for the kids."