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Feb 28 2017
by Meghan Field

THON Raises $10,045,478.44 All For the Kids

By Meghan Field - Feb 28 2017
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At this time last week, students were slowly getting back into the swing of things after a life changing weekend. Whether the student was a veteran by enduring their fourth THON or a freshman attending their first ever THON, the Penn State community came together for an event they will remember for a lifetime.

The mission statement for THON, the 46-hour no sitting no sleeping dance marathon, states THON's purpose best: THON is a student-run philanthropy committed to enhancing the lives of children and families impacted by childhood cancer. Our mission is to provide emotional and financial support, spread awareness and ensure funding for critical research — all in pursuit of a cure.

THON started at 6 PM on Friday, February 17th and ended at 4 PM on Sunday, February 19th at the Bryce Jordan Center (BJC) on Penn State’s campus. Students and spectators line up in advance in order to get into the BJC to be a part of one of the more unforgettable experiences ever.

This year, the method of getting the various organizations in the stands was supposed to be more smooth sailing. Each fraternity, sorority or organization had to sign up in advance in order to get a time that they could enter the spectator line to then be escorted by a Rules and Regulations captain to their spots in the stands. Then, starting at 5 PM, students who were performing in pre-THON performed for all 708 dancers. I had the chance to perform in pre-THON with my dance company and it was so cool seeing the BJC before it got totally packed. The energy from the dancers was absolutely insane!

There were tons of events going on each hour, so there was absolutely no way to get bored. From a pep rally including Disney-themed dances from each of the sports teams on campus (men’s gymnastics won deservedly so, if I do say so myself), a talent show featuring all of the THON children and their dancers and family hour where THON families shared their cancer stories. So many tears were shed.

Whether a student is involved with a committee, an organization, fraternity, sorority or just chose to attend as a spectator, everyone has an opportunity to attend THON in some capacity over the 46 hours.

The best part is all of the money raised for the kids at the Penn State Hershey Medical Center. Because of THON, families never have to pay a penny for treatment in hopes that their child is able to get better. This year, THON raised $10,045,478.44 and the overall total since 1973 is $147,703,369.10.

Austin Sommerer, the Executive Director of THON 2017, with two Rules and Regulations Committee Members. Image Credit: Nate Ehrhardt
A Rules and Regulations Committee snapping a photo before heading to their shift on the floor. Rules and Regulations Committee Members and captains make sure that every single person in the BJC is safe. Image Credit: Kristin Sarsfield
 
The view of the stage and the floor from the upper bowl of the BJC. Image Credit: Meghan Field
Two of the 708 dancers on the flood. They are representing four THON families as well as Tapestry Dance Company and Theta Chi. Image Credit: Meghan Field
 
Students from Hershey High School, pictured in black shirts, come to experience THON as spectators. They are all overall chairs of Hershey High School's Mini-THON. Image Credit: Nate Ehrhardt
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Spectators dancing along with the Dancer Relations Captains during the line dance. This photo was taken during a popular part of the line dance in which the lyrics were "Why is everything so lit? What was this year's biggest hit?" Image Credit: Meghan Field
 

Overall, my first THON was something I will remember for a lifetime. I ended up staying for 40 out of the 46 hours which is something I never thought I would do. That just goes to show how much fun THON was and how impactful it was on me. If you ever have the chance to attend THON even if it is just for one hour, I highly recommend!

Lead Image Credit: Meghan Field

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Meghan Field - Pennsylvania State University

Meghan is a sophomore at Penn State - University Park. She's from Hershey, PA. She is going to major in Biobehavioral Health and Psychology with a minor in Global Health. She has been dancing her whole life and has always had an interest in writing and anything science related. Instagram is @meghanfield.

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