Pennsylvania State University THON
Penn State THON Carolyn Kaster/AP

Kate Andrew, line dance captain for morale, teaches hundreds of Penn State Dance Marathon 2004 or THON participants the line dance at 8 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 20, 2004, in State College, Pennsylvania.

February 15, 2017

Mumps cases reported at Penn State as campus readies for THON this weekend

University warns participants to 'use judgment' when deciding whether to attend

The goal of Penn State THON is to raise money and awareness to improve the health outcomes for others, but this year, participants will be forced to risk their own health.

The student-led philanthropic dance marathon is set to take place for three days starting on Friday, but the State College campus is also currently reporting several confirmed cases of the mumps.

According to Penn State's University Health Servicesthere have been three confirmed cases on the campus as of Wednesday, and as a result, the school is warning participants, who typically include many sick children, to “use judgment” when deciding whether to participate. 

If a participant is showing any symptoms or signs of the viral infection, which the college's health service center describes here, or if they have been in contact with someone who has, then they should stay home.

This news is a huge bummer for THON, which is the largest student-run philanthropy in the world, both in revenue and volunteer participation. Each year, more than 16,500 students and volunteers pack the school's Byrce Jordan Center to participate. 

Last year’s event raised more than $9.7 million in pursuit of awareness and a cure for pediatric cancer.