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about 2 years ago
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The Final Four Hours

THON 2013 dancer Rebecca Shaw

The time has come — the 42 hour mark. With only four hours left, some of the most exciting and emotional things are set to come before the close of THON 2013. We will soon see the reveal for the total amount of money raised this year while honoring the children who face the horrors of childhood cancer everyday. The close of THON Weekend 2013 is set to bring us some of the most exciting things of the weekend, including the emotional moment of watching the dancers sit down for the first time in 46 hours.

42 hours in and dancer Rebecca Shaw is still going strong. Shaw, a sophomore in Agribusiness Management is looking better after 42 hours of standing and no sleep than most of us would after 12 hours. Still, there were some obstacles she faced to get to this point. The hardest part for Shaw was not knowing what exactly to expect from the weekend.

“No matter how you prepare, you’re going in at least somewhat blind,” said Shaw. “You don’t realize how your legs and feet will hurt and the mental side effects that come with no sleep.”

Dancers are occupied with something during virtually every minute of the 46 hours, from coloring books to Slides of Strength to simply sharing their experiences with family and friends on the floor. Just “having things to do” isn’t always what is going to keep them going, however. That’s when dancers begin to turn to their Moralers for support.

Although the dancers are the only ones on the floor for the entire duration of the weekend, those on the Morale committee have a tough job themselves. Every second on the floor is filled with high enthusiasm and devotion. Dancers should be able to look to their Moraler and feed off of their energy. What helps them stay motivated is remembering why they are here.

“You have to remember that everything you’re doing is connected to a bigger chain. You are supporting your dancer, who is dancing in support of the children who are fighting cancer everyday,”  said Moraler Kenny Bui

Fellow Moraler Matt Rodgers had a similar opinion, “Everyone is tired, once you go to complain you really need to take a moment to think about what your dancer is going through for the cause.”

When their dancers are having an issue, Moralers take a step back to figure out what needs to happen in order to make the dancers happy.

“You really have to feel it out,” said Rodgers. “You need to take the time to figure out exactly how they are feeling, if they’re frustrated or just down. Whether they need to be taken to a quiet place or into a big group of people to get them back on track, you need to take the time to think before acting.”

It’s the momentum their Moralers are able to find that keeps the dancers going. Once they get to that place where they know they are okay, that’s what gets them over the obstacles in their journey. Shaw and other dancers are keeping the energy up with just four hours to go. Rebecca’s Moraler kept her assured that the weekend will go by way faster than she expected, and encouraged her to take in every detail because of that.

But when it is all said and done, the burden of keeping yourself strong all 46 hours lies on the dancer themselves. After hours of playing with bouncy balls and balloons, after dozens of line dances on the floor and after all of the letters from their loved ones are opened, it’s the cause that keeps them looking into their heart for motivation.

“If these kids can make it through cancer treatment, whats a few more hours standing on my feet,” said Shaw. “If 709 others can do it, I am right there with them.”

Four hours left, and for the dancers they will be four of the best hours of their lives. Let’s make them count. FTK.

THON - The IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon (THON), the most ubiquitous event on campus, has been in existence since 1973. THON currently benefits the Four Diamonds Fund at the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center Children’s Hospital and has raised over $100,000,000 since its inception. Read more