This I Believe

Mark - Wind Gap, Pennsylvania
Entered on April 21, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30

Giving Is Better Than Receiving

A weekend at college, oh what a time it can be! Friends, parties, late night pizza runs, what can be better?

Well, I experienced something more special than any party I will ever go to, or better than any late night pizza run I will ever go on. I experienced Penn State’s 48-hour Dance MaraTHON, which helps raise money “For The Kids” with cancer. From this weekend, I realized that it is better to give than to receive.

This past February, I was one of 700 dancers to participate in Penn State’s annual Dance MaraTHON, which has raised over $30 million for the kids in the over 30 years of its existence. Every year the Penn State student body raises money to further the largest student-run philanthropy in the entire world. The money that I helped to raise is used towards cancer research, as well as, to help families with children with cancer pay their medical bills, and provide them with financial support.

During THON weekend, the other dancers and I helped brighten the spirits of the kids with cancer that came to the event. For one weekend, I was able to take away the pain that these kids feel every day of their lives. I did not sit or sleep for 48 straight hours, so that I could get a glimpse of the physical pain and mental agony these kids experience daily. I played some games with the kids and did whatever they wanted to do, because it was “their weekend.”

Throughout the weekend I would walk around the dance floor and look at the happiness and joy on the kids’ faces. Giving those 48 hours of my life, to remember the joy and excitement that gleamed off of all the kids’ faces, will be one of the greatest gifts that I will ever receive in my life. A small act of kindness by a few college students for one weekend can make a world of difference to a group of kids with cancer.

I realized that life is not all about material possession, but rather about memories and happiness. From THON weekend, I realized that it is better to give than to receive, and in the end, when you give, you will receive things that are more special than any material possession. This I believe.