Marian Catholic alumna Janine Patton has always been a leader.

She first showcased her leadership qualities as a student athlete.

Patton helped bring a state championship to Marian in 2008 as she served as the point guard on the Fillies basketball team. The point guard position on a basketball team is a position that demands leadership and Patton certainly answered the bell for the Fillies over her four-year career.

Now, Patton is a senior at Penn State University and it's not surprising that she is still putting her leadership qualities to good use. Patton was recently chosen to be the director of Rules and Regulations for Penn State's IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon, which helps raise money to conquer pediatric cancer.

The event is commonly referred to as THON and you might recognize the name from volunteers standing outside of local high school football games collecting donations.

THON was started in 1973 and is a two-day dance marathon that involves more than 15,000 Penn State students. It's actually the largest student-run philanthropy event in the world and in their last event, Penn State students raised over $12 million dollars.

The money raised by the Penn State student body is donated to the Four Diamonds Fund, which is a charity that is devoted to helping fight pediatric cancer. The money helps fund research and the care of patients at the Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital.

Patton served as a Rules and Regulations Committee member for two years, a captain for two years, and now will serve as director for the 2014 THON event.

Patton is also a part of the Executive Committee for THON and oversees 34 captains and 1,600 Rules and Regulations Committee members.

Patton's involvement in THON stemmed from an involvement fair that Penn State held in order to get students to volunteer their time toward good causes.

"I went to the involvement fair to see what kind of activities I could get involved in on campus," said Patton. "THON was really the only name I heard of that was at the fair, so I decided to check it out. It was a good cause, so I figured I would give it a shot and after my first weekend, I fell in love with it."

Patton's committee is responsible for a lot at THON. The Rules and Regulations Committee is in charge of the safety and security of basically any event that is held by THON. It is also responsible for parking at all THON events and on the actual date of THON, the committee is responsible for the PASS system, which controls the entrance and departure to the dance floor.

It's safe to say that Patton has a lot of responsibility and just like her playing days on the hardwood at Marian she welcomes the challenge of being a leader, especially for such an important cause.

"Everyone talks about how much we do for the families and for the children that have pediatric cancer," said Patton. "I'll be honest though, I think it's a two-way street for most of us who dedicate our time to THON. It has helped me decide what I want to do with my life and I've met most of my friends through THON as well."

Patton changed her major from a concentration in industrial engineering to human development and family studies and adamantly expressed that THON is the reasoning for that. It's evident that Patton thrives in leadership roles and it's no wonder why THON is such a success with students and volunteers like her running the show.

To donate to THON go to www.thon.org and click the yellow button that says donate now.