PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) – Penn State students broke their record when they raised more than $13 million at their annual THON fundraiser.

Every year, for the past 42 years, Penn State students have held a weekend-long, 46-hour dance marathon to raise money for The Four Diamonds Fund, which helps children with pediatric cancer and their families.

This past weekend, they brought in a record-breaking $13,343,517.33. Organizers attribute the increase in fundraising to more national attention the event has received in recent years. More than 15,000 students participated in fundraising efforts and about 3,500 students volunteered to run the marathon throughout the weekend.

Part of the money is raised on out-of-town trips on weekends, when students stand on street corners and outside of businesses and ask for donations. Other fundraising efforts are made throughout the THON weekend.

For Monica Bryson, the weekend was a chance to escape the challenges cancer has brought to her family.

Bryson’s 2-year-old son Cooper has a brain tumor. Bryson and her husband, Matt, 33, stood next to their son’s medical stroller equipped with oxygen tanks and filled with bags of medicine Saturday afternoon. Cooper receives daily chemotherapy treatments.

“Even when we’re having a really rough day, we know that a million students and people are rooting for us and to end childhood cancer,” said Bryson, 30, of Hershey.

Since the fundraiser’s start, THON has raised more than $114 million for The Four Diamonds Fund.

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