After a virtual year, Neshaminy MiniTHON roars back with record totals

After going vir­tu­al for a year, the Neshaminy High School MiniTHON returned to their tra­di­tion­al in-person for­mat on January 14. Following an after­noon of music, danc­ing and games in Gym 3, the orga­niz­ers revealed the total raised for Four Diamonds — a foun­da­tion that funds pedi­atric can­cer research and helps young can­cer patients — was $27,697.85. This marks a new record for MiniTHON at Neshaminy, which has now raised over $100,000 over the past sev­en years since the high school start­ed the activ­i­ty. MiniTHON is a local ver­sion of the wild­ly suc­cess­ful THON fundrais­er at Penn State University which has raised mil­lions of dol­lars since it was found­ed in the 1970’s.

Facing the pan­dem­ic last year, NHS MiniTHON stu­dent Executive Directors Alyson DeGulis and Makayla Stock took the event online with a vir­tu­al par­ty on Zoom. Despite the lack of an in-person event to focus their fundrais­ing, they man­aged to raise $7,454. This year, with help from their club advi­sor Kimberly Montone, they were able to get back to their in-person format.


The event was pre­ced­ed by sev­er­al months of plan­ning and fundrais­ing by MiniTHON club mem­bers. To par­tic­i­pate in the dance, the stu­dents had to raise at least $20 to get in the door; most raised far more. They can­vassed local busi­ness­es, held in-school fundrais­ers such as “No-Shave November” and “Stall Day” to encour­age their class­mates and Neshaminy staff to con­tribute. In December, stu­dents from the District’s three mid­dle schools held a “Mini-MiniTHON” of their own at Neshaminy High School and raised over $5,000 for their event. Those stu­dents were also invit­ed to join the main MiniTHON in January and many did attend.

Alyson said that this year she did not expect to imme­di­ate­ly return so quick­ly to the goals set pri­or to the pan­dem­ic. “I real­ly did­n’t think we would break $20,000,” she said. “I thought this year would mim­ic the first year of MiniTHON where we have to get the word out again and get peo­ple to real­ize how big of a deal it is and how impor­tant it is.”

Now I think that peo­ple just want­ed to do as much as they pos­si­bly can. They want to get involved and do every­thing they missed last year,” she added.

Both Alyson and Makayla cred­it their com­mit­tee mem­bers for their suc­cess this year, along with sup­port from Ms. Montone and the entire community.

Makayla, who was inspired to lead Neshaminy MiniTHON after see­ing the chal­lenges her own fam­i­ly faced after her younger broth­er was diag­nosed with can­cer, said she under­stands the finan­cial and emo­tion­al stress that results.

I want­ed to help with that,” she said. “All the mon­ey that is raised goes to research, and to help that par­ents don’t have to wor­ry about any­thing else while they’re in long-term stays at the hos­pi­tal. It’s a very, very long process.”