Does Poor Attendance to Mini-THON Show Lack of Support?

Michael Zabkowski, Sports Editor

On February 23, the Mini-Thon committee held its annual fundraising event, Mini-Thon. This year, the event occurred on a Saturday instead of overnight, and I don’t think that the move was a beneficial one.

Mini-THON is an annual event where students raise funds to help children fighting cancer. All money raised goes to Hershey Medical, where they conduct research to end cancer, or use the funds to help families struggling with bills or food while their child is undergoing cancer treatment.

In years past, Mini-Thon began late Friday night and went into early Saturday morning–an overnight event with lots of fun activities. However, this year, the committee chose to hold the event on Saturday afternoon.

According to committee member Hayley Mathews, the move to Saturday afternoon was made in hopes to better the attendance for the event.

Furthermore, Mini-THON advisor Shayne Joyce said, “We wanted to give more people the opportunity to come to Mini-THON. [In previous years] many students had trouble getting a ride late at night and picked up early on a Saturday morning.”

Joyce also made a point about how there is a growing majority of students who did not seem to have the stamina to stay up throughout the night.

Another committee member, Amelie Gamache added that sometimes, “students were leaving early in previous years due to the time of the event.”

In spite of that change, Mathews reported that the event saw its worst attendance in the last four years.

There are other theories that may explain poor attendance.

Gamache thinks that the time change did have an affect on the attendance partially due to the fact that some students (not Mini-THON members) were delivering the message that the event would not be as fun due to the change in time of the event.

However, Gamache also added the fact that something as simple as a time change did not change how fun the event was.

Then, when I asked Joyce if moving the event to during the day improved the attendance, he said, “We wanted to give our students the chance to support children battling cancer. I don’t know if students would turn their backs on supporting Mini-THON because it did not take place at a specific time of day, so I cannot say if our time change influenced people coming or not.”

Personally, I think that a big reason for such a low attendance is because of the event being during the day. So many people have plans on a Saturday afternoon, and I think most people would rather do what they have planned than come to school for any event.

With that being said, I fully respect what the Mini-THON group is working towards, which is helping children battle cancer, because that would be a detrimental blow to any family.

But, I believe that just because students did not show up to the event, it does not mean they turned their back on Mini-THON.

Students that did not attend could have many reasons, some possibilities might be: they don’t think the event is fun, those students had prior plans, or those individuals could not get to the school. The list of possible reasons for students not attending is endless.

If not the fact that students have plans on a Saturday, most students that have jobs work on Saturday, and they do not have a lot of flexibility when it comes to taking time off.

Moreover, honestly, I did not attend this year’s Mini-THON event, but that was due to something my family planned towards the beginning of the school year that could not be rescheduled, and obviously, then, I did not know the date for Mini-THON. However, I did still donate money (helping the cause) even though I did not go to Mini-THON.

The Mini-THON group has many different opportunities setup prior to their event to support the fundraiser. One example of that would be the “Stop the Clock” event that they organize almost every year.

“Stop the Clock” is a small form of fundraising that can actually raise some decent amounts of money. “Stop the Clock” is when students bring in change to class, and class does not start until the teacher counts all of the money.

However, not every teacher chooses to participate in “Stop the Clock”. Why that would be, I have no clue. Also, “Stop the Clock” can be on any school day out of one school week, and teachers can choose which day suits their schedules the best.

While I do not know in general why teachers would not choose to participate in “Stop the Clock”, something that can help raise money towards this cause, I believe that their might be one plausible reason this year. That one reason would be the many snow days we have had as of late, and those days often delay lesson plans and put classes behind.

However, I do not think there is a good excuse to not donate to the Four Diamonds fund and help eliminate childhood cancer.

Joyce said, “We obviously will always want the most people possible to come. This year, that meant that one out of every seven students decided to put someone else’s needs or problems first. Our students decided to do the right and unselfish thing by standing for the kids that can’t. Money is obviously helpful and will lead to research that puts an end to cancer. Sometimes, though, kids and families need to see the face of someone who cares, someone who will stand with them through this fight. Money cannot replace the benevolence of thousands of students going out of their way to come and support Mini-THON. Support is not just by giving their or someone else’s money but physically being there for them.”

This comment left me with a few different thoughts.

First of all, do children with cancer and those families come out to our school to see how many students are raising money for them? Do those children with cancer come out to see all the fun that they are unable to be a part of?

I just do not think that children with cancer would want to hear or see that students are having fun because they themselves cannot.

On a similar note, I do think that children suffering from cancer would want to hear that there are students supporting their fight.

Secondly, I am a little confused about what Joyce means when he talks about the kindness from the students that go out of their way to come and support Mini-THON, and how support is not just giving their or someone else’s money.

I really only think that you would be helping eliminate childhood cancer by donating to Mini-THON or other various charities/foundations that give their proceeds to those working to eliminate childhood cancer.

Basically, the support (the kind that’s not giving donations) doesn’t really surmount to much in terms of helping those doctors/researchers that are working to terminate childhood cancer.

So, sure, kids go to Mini-THON to have fun and help fight childhood cancer. But, the only true ways to end childhood cancer are: donate to foundations that help the doctors or researchers that are working to end childhood cancer, or become a doctor or researcher and work to find a way to end childhood cancer.

I am not trying to attack those that did not donate this year or go to the event. However, just by saying “I support the fight to end childhood cancer”, is not really helping at all, because honestly, what does that surmount to without donations or actually studying the solution to end childhood cancer?