In hopes of continuing their fundraising efforts for the Four Diamonds, which is the sole beneficiary of the Penn State Dance Marathon (THON) , post-graduation, members of the Philadelphia Chapter of the Penn State Alumni Association came together in 2005, and soon after, the idea of the Liberty Ball was born!
The title “The Liberty Ball, A Knight For The Kids” was inspired by an icon of the Philadelphia community: the Liberty Bell. Our theme, “A Knight for the Kids,” was born from reflection of Chris Millard’s, remarkable story of Sir Millard’s quest for the four diamonds: courage, wisdom, honesty, and strength. The four diamonds represent the four elements necessary to battle cancer. It was this story that inspired the foundation of The Four Diamonds Fund. Click here to read more about Chris’s story.
In 2006, the chapter hosted the very first Liberty Ball, A Knight for the Kids at the Philadelphia Union League. Eleven years later, the Liberty Ball is a staple event in Philadelphia and has raised over $158,000 for THON. The success of the Liberty Ball has even inspired other Penn State Alumni chapters to create their events. Go to pennstatephilly.org to learn more about our chapter.
Penn State Dance Marathon (THON)
The mission of the Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon is to conquer pediatric cancer by providing outstanding emotional and financial support to the children, families, researchers, and staff of the Four Diamonds Fund.
The Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon is a year-long fundraising and awareness campaign for the fight against pediatric cancer. This effort engages more than 15,000 students across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in hopes of finding a cure. The year culminates with a 46 hour no-sitting, no-sleeping dance marathon known as THON Weekend. In 2015, THON raised $9.97 million and was able to donate 96% of funds raised directly to the Four Diamonds Fund. Since 1977, THON has raised more than $137 million benefiting the Four Diamonds Fund at Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital. To learn more about THON™ and the Four Diamonds Fund, visit THON.org.
Four Diamonds Fund
The Four Diamonds Fund was established by Charles and Irma Millard after the death of their son, Christopher, who was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 11. Four Diamonds is named after a story that Chris wrote shortly before he lost his battle with cancer at the age of 14. In Chris’ story, a knight must find the Four Diamonds of Courage, Wisdom, Honesty and Strength in order to be released from captivity by an evil sorceress. The Four Diamonds are symbolic of the traits Chris believed were necessary to overcome cancer.
Four Diamonds offsets the cost of treatment that insurance does not cover, as well as expenses that may affect the welfare of the child. Four Diamonds supports the medical team that cares for the children and funds pediatric cancer research through start-up grants and the Four Diamonds Pediatric Cancer Research Institute. To learn more information about the Four Diamonds Fund, visit their website at pennstatehershey.org/web/fourdiamonds.