Cancer doesn’t stop for COVID


The 2020 MiniThon Captains gathered for an impromptu celebration of their efforts despite the eventual cancellation of the 12 hour March Dance Marathon. Students raised $132,120.20 for the Penn State Children’s Hospital and the Four Diamonds Fund in Hershey, Pa. Photo from Beth Smith / Malerie Kelly.

Mr. Trimmer, Advisor

It has been nearly one year since the Central York High School MiniThon Captains and Advisors were told that the district was postponing the annual dance marathon, fundraiser and total reveal in the midst of the pre-stages of a world-wide pandemic that has since touched the shores of some of the most remote areas of the planet. 

At the turn of the calendar year, CYHS’ MiniThon club kicks into overdrive. Students frequent club and committee meetings, continue selling subs and sandwiches and clothing as well as constantly searching and wading for decorative materials for the event itself. Captains put in extra hours each day after school in order to verify any outside vendors, donations and volunteers all requiring special attention and attention to detail. 

However, in March 2020, the fifteenth to be exact, students and staff preparing to stay after school for an evening of decoration, design and dancing were met with disappointment. 

Nearly a year later, a combination of new Captains and those that returned are preparing for a celebration of fundraising efforts for the 2021 school year. COVID-19 restrictions have still forced a delay in the March event, but Advisor and science teacher Malerie Kelly said there is still a plan in the works.

We are working on an outside event in the spring, our grand total will still go to Four Diamonds to help fight pediatric cancer,” she said.

The club plans to utilize a combination of attendance limits, location changes and guidelines for food/drink as well as sanitation later in the Spring. With attendance numbers traditionally in the hundreds, MiniThon is focusing on adding the outdoor stadium(s) to this year’s list of venues – to increase ventilation and hopefully attendance restrictions. 

“The outdoor setting is a blessing in disguise this year. Typically the March weather only let us go outside for the balloon release, but this year we can plan more outdoors,” said Kelly. 

It is likely that students and staff will have to continue following all sanitation guidelines. Throughout the year students garner donations from local businesses including Buffalo Wild Wings, Primo Pizza, Texas Roadhouse among others; however, safe food practice may impact how such donations are utilized, if at all. 

“We aren’t sure yet how the food situation will work out. In past years, students have accumulated enough to have lunch, dinner and snacks in between, but we aren’t sure yet what the rules for food distribution will look like,” said Nathan Trimmer, another MiniThon Advisor.

The group isn’t sure what will happen with volunteers, either. Popular exercise gym CRUNCH fitness typically signs up to run a POUND session with students utilizing drumsticks and music to get in a midday workout. On top of the district-required security clearances needed by volunteers, no one knows for sure if outside support will be permitted with regulations in place to limit the spread of the ongoing pandemic. 

Despite the challenges, the students and staff involved in this effort know not to take any opportunity for granted. Each obstacle they often face and often overcome pale in comparison to those they dance for. And though Central York High School’s MiniThon 2021 will look a bit different, feel a bit different and 100% be different – those involved can walk away knowing they made a difference.