Charities benefiting from Paterno gifts

One of senior Will Martin’s lasting memories at Penn State was when football coach Joe Paterno came to rouse some 700 dancers trying to make it through the annual charity dance marathon on campus.

The latest 46-hour event starts Friday, and Martin says the twisters and two-steppers won’t forget the support Paterno offered for the cause.

Paterno, who was 85, died last month, less than three months after being diagnosed with lung cancer.

In lieu of flowers or gifts, his family requested that donations be made to Special Olympics of Pennsylvania or the Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon, which benefits pediatric cancer research and care. Organizers call the dance marathon the world’s largest student-run philanthropy.

Special Olympics says the charity has received about $80,000 in donations in Paterno’s memory.