CANCER is particularly heart-wrenching when it affects children, and Eliza Crawford — who worked for Exit Zero and Congress Hall this summer, and who is a seasoned sailing instructor on Cape Island — is helping to make it just a little less so. Eliza, a Penn State University senior, is participating for the fourth time this winter in the school’s THON, the culminating event of a year-long fundraising effort, and the largest student-run philanthropy in the world. How it works? More than 15,000 young adults from different organizations — fraternities, clubs, special interest groups — collect donations for the Four Diamonds Fund, which supports pediatric cancer research and provides financial support for the families of diagnosed children. This past weekend, Eliza and other members of the Penn State Sailing Club were canning for cash outside of the Cape May Court House Acme, where they brought in $950 in under five hours. In February, Eliza will be one of the students participating in THON, which is a 46-hour dance marathon at Penn State that does not allow for sitting or sleeping. Since 1977, THON has raised over $101 million, with over $12 million brought in last year alone. “Seeing the kids on THON weekend that are part of the Four Diamonds Fund — in treatment or out — and knowing we’ve been able to help them,” Eliza said, “that’s the most rewarding part.”
Eliza will also be running the Philadelphia Half-Marathon on November 17 to raise money for the same charity. To make a donation, simply log onto thon.org, and click the “donate now” tab. From there, you’ll have the option of clicking on participating organizations, including Penn State Sailing Club. Good luck, Eliza!
LAST weekend, the Exit Zero team carved (or tried to carve) pumpkins purchased from Rea’s Farm. ’Tis the season, which means two things: First of all, owners Les and Diane Rea will be starting up their hayrides this weekend, so you can pick your own jack-be-little or Atlantic Giant. Okay, actually, you can’t pick the latter variety — they weigh up to 300 pounds, and the weather this season has inhibited their growth. You’ll have to settle for the more appropriately sized kind of pumpkin, or take home a pie or loaf of bread sold in the Rea’s farm market and made with their home-grown pumpkins.
Second of all, Rea’s Harvest County Fair — complete with adult and kid-friendly vendors, hayrides, and pony rides — is coming up. “You wouldn’t believe the looks on some of these kids’ faces, when they get to pick their own pumpkin,” Diane said. “Some of these children have never seen anything growing in a field before; they’ve only been in the supermarket. We really enjoy working with the children.”
In fact, the couple has even made their hayrides accessible for wheelchair-bound kids. “We’ll pick them up and put them on the wagon, if we have to,” Diane said. “It doesn’t matter how old or what their condition; the hayrides are for everyone.” For more information on the Fair, which runs from 10am-5pm on October 19, or individual hay rides (times vary), call (609)884-4522.