11th Annual Hope Gala Returns March 16 With First-ever Theme “When I Was A Kid”

Evening to Honor Connor McMahon with the 2019 Leah Still Award for Courage 

Award-Winning Journalist, Co-Founder of TheMOMS.com and Breast Cancer Survivor Denise Albert to Serve as Evening Emcee 

NEW YORK, FEBRUARY, 2019 – Today the Hope Gala, year-round fundraising organization established to support the fundraising efforts of Penn State Dance Marathon (THON), announced that for the first time ever the organization’s premiere event on March 16 will be themed ‘When I Was a Kid.” The evening, honoring Connor McMahon and others to be announced at a later time, will reflect on what it was like to be a kid and what the Hope Gala’s mission aims to do for children battling cancer. Award-winning journalist, Television Producer, Co-Founder of the MOMS and Breast Cancer survivor, Denise Albert, will be featured as the evening’s Master of Ceremonies.

At just 17 years old, Connor has already conquered cancer three times. Connor's journey inspired him to give back to other kids fighting cancer by providing over 900 backpacks embroidered with the word 'Hope', filled with coloring books, puzzles, notepads, and other activities urging kids to not give up theirs hope to make it through their own fight.

The 11th annual event, held at New York City’s Gotham Hall will feature Beth Carey as the annual Four Diamonds family speaker with additional speakers to include Connor McMahon’s father, Don.

“Families that are genuinely helped by organizations, like the Hope Gala, are truly touched by people's hearts. These events are about the generosity of strangers that are compelled to see a family in need and want to do more,” said Don McMahon. “Organizations like the Hope Gala need to be vigilant and never stop trying to advance for a cure.  It means so much to the families when strides are made.”

Beth Carey is a 13-year cancer survivor from a small town outside of Wilkes-Barre called Dallas, PA. In May of 2005, Beth was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Large B-Cell, at only 15 years old. As Beth won her battle with cancer, she continued the fight for others as a student at the Pennsylvania State University, where she volunteered for THON and even had the privilege to dance in THON for her organization, Women’s Club Basketball -- the same organization that had once danced for her. She now continues making a difference as a pediatric nurse at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.

At last year’s 10th Annual Hope Gala, the organization raised $357,302.82 in the fight against childhood cancer, totaling over $1,000,000 in 10 years.

To purchase tickets for the March 16 Hope Gala please visit https://hopegala19.givesmart.com.



The Hope Gala is an annual gala and year-round fundraising organization established to support the fundraising efforts of Penn State Dance Marathon (THON). Since 2008, The Hope Gala has raised over $1.1 million towards the mission of conquering childhood cancer. Four Diamonds is the sole beneficiary of THON's fundraising activities and THON is the largest contributor to Four Diamonds. All proceeds benefit childhood cancer patients and their families in need of financial aid, medical assistance, and emotional support at the Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital. The Hope Gala was founded by the New York City Chapter of the Penn State Alumni Association with support from the Northern New Jersey Chapter.