Patriot MiniTHON

The origin story of a new tradition


A poster being held up by two MiniTHON participants at the BHS vs PHS basketball game for our Miracle Minute. Photo courtesy of BHS MiniTHON Instagram.

Derek Viator, Author


MiniTHON began in Prince William County two years ago at Battlefield. The catalyst for this wonderful event? Lauren Hillig. A rising Senior when it began, Lauren saw the event “THON” at Penn State and was inspired by it. Lauren took it to administration and pitched the idea. With the help of a few of her friends and a dream she saw for Battlefield they created a wildly successful program at Battlefield that, in its first year alone, raised the amazing number of $41,000. After its success other schools took on the challenge and now Patriot High School and Marsteller Middle School are participating in their own MiniTHON this year. Woodbridge High School has also verbally announced that they will be planning one for 2020.


There are a few recognizable names from other schools in the county. One such name is Isaac Mardo, a senior at Patriot. He is what many consider the face of Patriot and is very vocal in the tradition of rivalry between them and Battlefield. Getting the opportunity to talk to Isaac revealed his inspiration, goal, advice, and feelings about MiniTHON, although not just at Patriot, but in a community at large.


What spurred Isaac to take on the difficult task of starting such an event at Patriot? “As a senior who felt Patriot was lacking tradition, I wanted to do an activity that involves the whole school, while also doing something beneficial for our community.” Leaving a legacy is something all leaders wish to accomplish so Isaac thought this was a great opportunity to fulfill that wish. “My friend Lauren Hillig had helped start it the year before at Battlefield, so I reached out to her for help on how to begin [it] at Patriot.” After deciding to take on the challenge he did something no one at Battlefield or Patriot thought possible, reach across and ask for help from a rival school. Raising money for those struggling with pediatric cancer means more than any rivalry.


Now that the process has begun for Patriot, what do they hope to accomplish? “My goal for this years MiniTHON is to raise $20,000… [and to create] something that can still be happening at Patriot if I were to come back in 20 years and visit.” The goal that he has set for them is quite significant. When Battlefield first began the event the initial goal was $5,000. After the outstanding success of the 2017-2018 event he feels as though Patriot can match that same amazing success.


Woodbridge is also planning on participating next year, “I think the fact that we are all so close we can use the friendly competition to raise more and help do our part in fighting for the cause.” In the history of Prince William County it may be safe to say that there has been nothing like MiniTHON to bring schools in this area together and the future looks bright for everyone involved, including those whose lives are being saved. Isaac does have some advice for schools that may be thinking about participating in the future, “Just know that it’s okay to start small! And it’s a little bumpy at first, you will have setbacks, but eventually things will fall into place and everything will start to run very smooth! Just start as soon as you can!” The collective want to change people’s lives for the better resonates with thousands of students in PWC and MiniTHON is the chance that so many have been waiting for. Keep an eye out for the growing cause against pediatric cancer in Northern Virginia.