What Is Four Diamonds?
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — This year’s THON may be the first ever virtual version of the 46-hour event, but that did not stop the efforts that have taken place throughout the year, especially not with Four Diamonds.
Cancer kills more children per year than any disease in the United States, and Four Diamonds’ mission is to change that reality. They have assisted 100% of the childhood cancer patients who have been treated at Penn State Children’s Hospital.
Since its creation in 1972, Four Diamonds’ mission has been to “conquer childhood cancer by assisting children and their families through assisted care, comprehensive support and innovative research.”
Suzanne Graney is the executive director of Four Diamonds. She leads the staff team responsible for overseeing all of the funds that are raised and the marketing related to Four Diamonds. Graney also “guides the executive committee of THON and other students that work to put this event together every year.”
Graney has thought back to all of the THONs she has attended over the years, but a particular story from her first ever THON she attended in this role has stuck with her.
“I kept seeing a student group with an inflated giraffe all throughout that weekend, and I couldn’t figure out the significance of this giraffe,” Graney said. “I saw it every single time I looked into the stands.”
Graney said she later found out it was the favorite animal of one of their Four Diamonds patients, who died shortly before THON that year. The organization that was holding the giraffe was the group matched with this Four Diamonds child and family.
“It hit me so powerfully,” Graney added. “[It’s incredible] how real these relationships are between the students and the families.”
The executive director of THON 2021, Katie Solomon, started on a committee her freshman year at Penn State and said she “fell in love with the organization and everything that it stands for.”
She also added that Four Diamonds and THON rely on each other heavily to make things happen.
“I could say quite confidently that nothing THON does would be possible without Four Diamonds,” Solomon said. “They’re incredibly helpful for us to foster relationships with our families and tell their stories.”
She added that Four Diamonds is the “best partner that THON has.”
Kiley Hill is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, email email@example.com.