A bittersweet last dance for Mr. Mini-THON

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MECHANICSBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Cumberland Valley students are getting ready for their big Mini-THON this Friday to raise money for pediatric cancer research.

“It’s a 12-hour dance marathon held right here at the high school,” said Chelsey Bunner, the overall chair for the event.

The gym will be filled with hundreds of sweaty, dancing teens for Cumberland Valley’s 11th annual event.

“This year, if we raise over $253,000, over the past four years, we would have raised $1 million in just four years,” Bunner said.

The money goes to Four Diamonds, which pays for 100 percent of child cancer patients’ medical expenses at Penn State Children’s Hospital.

Mr. Mini-THON, as he’s known now, reached a milestone of his own, raising more than $9,000 to win the title.

“This is just the beginning,” Dustin Beaver said. “We’re finding a cure. We’re getting it done.”

The fighting spirit has been in Beaver since sixth grade.

“I was diagnosed with ALL, acute lymphoblastic leukemia,” Beaver said. “I was 96-percent polluted with cancer cells.”

It spread all over his body, requiring weeks of expensive treatment.

“They covered literally everything for us, so all my parents had to worry about was me.”

“They” is Four Diamonds. Beaver has done THON for them ever since he went into remission two months after diagnosis.

“I think it was actually kind of a blessing that I was diagnosed because now I can help and support and publicize and do whatever I can to help the cause,” he said.

“Having someone your age, who survived it and fought through it, I think, is really eye opening to a lot of kids in our grade,” Bunner said.

It’s their last Mini-THON, but only the first of many milestones.

“I am going to major in computer science,” Beaver said. “I am also going to try to be a huge leader for Penn State Altoona for THON.”

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