Cancer survivor gives back through poker tournament

Jimmy Clark to host eighth annual event to benefit THON
Poker with Jimmy 2016

Jimmy Clark, cancer survivor and host of Poker with Jimmy, smiles for the camera with the 2016 Poker with Jimmy winners, left to right, Shane Reilly, third place; Julie Gunter, first place; and  Erik Althoff, second place.  Last year's event raised more then $8,000 for THON and ultimately went to Four Diamonds at the Penn State Hershey Children Hospital to help children and their families battling pediatric cancer.  The poker tournament is not a pay for play event, donations are accepted and this is Clark's way of giving back for the help he received during his battle with cancer.

Credit: Barbara Dennis

YORK, Pa. — Jimmy Clark, 24, understands what it is like to fight for his life. A cancer survivor, Clark will host the eighth annual Poker with Jimmy, a No Limit Texas Hold’em Poker Tournament, on Sunday, Nov. 5. The tournament has raised more than $65,000 over the past seven years for THON and the Four Diamonds Fund at Penn State  Children’s Hospital for children battling pediatric cancer. 

This year’s event is at the Goodwill Fire Company, located at 2318 S. Queen St. in York. Doors open at 10 a.m., with play beginning at 11 a.m. Poker with Jimmy is just one of many events sponsored by Penn State York Benefiting THON leading up to the Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon (THON), the 46-hour dance marathon, set for Feb.16-18, 2018, at the Bryce Jordan Center at University Park. In 2017, THON raised $10,045,478.44.

Poker with Jimmy is not a pay-to-play event. Participants can make a donation if they choose to; the suggested donation is $30. Since all items at the event are donated, all proceeds go to children battling pediatric cancer through THON and the Four Diamonds Fund at Penn State Children’s Hospital.

Clark, from Red Lion, Pennsylvania, knows well what it is like to battle cancer. A two-time cancer survivor, he was diagnosed in December 2008 with osteosarcoma, a rare bone cancer in his right leg. He was treated for cancer at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, and the surgery to remove the tumor and save his leg was done at John Hopkins in Baltimore, Maryland. Clark and his family received positive news on June 18, 2010, when his status was changed to NED (No Evidence of Disease).  

While fighting cancer, Clark and his family benefited from the generosity of the Four Diamonds Fund. He has undergone 15 surgeries and more than 3,500 hours of chemotherapy.

A 2011 graduate of Red Lion High School, Clark has been involved with THON since his diagnosis in 2008.  

“It has completely changed my life, my views and morals, and made it clear what is important in life,” said Clark. “I want to give back for all that I have received.”

While a student at Penn State York, Clark was involved with the campus THON group and, in 2013, was one of the dancers representing Penn State York at THON Weekend.

Clark graduated from Penn State in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and concentration in entrepreneurship. He works locally in his family’s business and continues to give back for all that he received during his battle with cancer. For more information on the tournament, visit

Anyone interested in supporting the dancers from Penn State York can donate online at Please click on “Donate Now.” Donations made to the Penn State York Benefiting York THON will be credited to the campus and then added to the final total at University Park. Checks in support of THON should be made payable to Penn State Dance Marathon or THON, and sent to Penn State York, 1031 Edgecomb Ave., York, PA 17403. Please be sure to note "York, Org. 170" in the memo line of the check.

THON is the world’s largest student-run philanthropy, engaging more than 15,000 students in the fight against childhood cancer. THON’s yearlong fundraising and awareness campaign culminates in a 46-hour no-sitting, no-sleeping dance marathon every February. Since 1977, THON has donated more than $147 million to Four Diamonds at Penn State Children’s Hospital, funding comprehensive care and critical research.