Overheard at THON 2013

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This weekend in the BJC was a seemingly infinite sea of bright colors, ridiculous outfits, games, Greek letters, fatheads, Line Dances, singing, laughter, tears, inspiration, sore feet, and more memories than you could ever count– but we’re still trying! Check out some of the most inspirational (and accurate) things that we overheard at THON 2013 before you’re drawn into those overwhelming feelings of post-THON-depression.

“I’ll sleep when I’m dead, you know? This is for a good cause, and we’re doing it for the right reasons, so sign me up.” -Tracey Edouard, Entertainment Committee

“I’m pretty much here all weekend. It doesn’t compare to what the kids are dealing with. We’ve had some cancer issues with our family, so that’s all I need is to see the kids’ smiles, and I’ll remember that. It doesn’t matter, I’ll be up as long as I need to.” -Al Karosas, Associate General Manager

“You’re everything that’s right about Penn State. We appreciate you for your sacrifice, your time, and for how proud you make us.” -Coach Patrick Chambers, to the dancers at Pre-THON

“Cancer, we are NEVER EVER EVER getting back together!” -Dylan Moser, Four Diamonds Child

“I’m looking forward to Family Hour. It’s a reminder of why we’re here and what this goes to. It’s always beautiful and humbling.” -Ali Fogarty, ARHS and Onward State 

“[We’re most excited] to see the new total, and knowing we made a big impact on that total, all of the campuses together.” -William, a Schuylkill THON representative

“I think it’s really cool, how they capture a whole year in one 3-minute dance. It’s just really exciting and it gets everybody moving. It’s great for the dancers so they can stretch and stuff. I think it’s really cool.” -Ben, a sophomore from ΛΧΑ

“This weekend is off to an incredible start and it’s still sinking in that I’m DANCING IN THON.” -Joel Kreider, dancer

“NGU. NEVER GIVE UP! It’s our motto that we all live by. You’re canning and you’re exhausted? NGU. You have five exams this week? NGU. You’re about to stand for 46 hours? NGU. You can see it on our shirts and most likely overhear us saying it when you walk around campus.” -Paul Suhey, Apollo FTK 

“I am loving this year’s Line Dance! I really like the chorus because I actually know it, but my favorite part overall is when we go ‘Woo! Woo!’” -Sabrina Kristobak, Ski Team

“Any kids, come on out and bounce around with us, please! This is your stage, come on and take it. You do whatever you want.” -Go Go Gadjet 

“Why does everyone THON? We’ve all had cancer affect us at some point.” -Irish Society

“Because of your dedication, we got to see Emily smile and dance again this weekend.” -Kari Whitehead, Four Diamonds Parent

“I went to THON last year and I was just astounded by what I saw and wanted to do something to step it up next year. Last year we wore Storm Trooper outfits and we wanted to step to step it up. My buddy said somebody should wear Tron suits and that would be the coolest thing ever. I wanted to show the kids that we really do care.” -Daniel Sheffler, sophomore from Penn State New Kensington

“My initial feeling was obviously excitement. It’s truly amazing what everyone does here. The pictures I’ve seen look exactly like it does right now, but they weren’t as exciting or crazy. Seeing the little kids dancing was more than I expected.” -Marissa Restaino, OPPerations Committee

“You’re so much closer to everything, the dancers, the kids, than any of the videos show. It’s all so close to us.” -Allie Galoozis, Kappa Alpha Theta

“Its amazing. It’s amazing and it’s overwhelming. Everyone, the students interact so well with the kids. There’s so much we don’t even know what to look forward to. You can’t really even explain what THON is.” -Susan Sidler, a Four Diamonds parent 

“There’s so much energy here. When you’re canning and everything, every org is individual, it’s almost a competition. But then you come in here, and everything molds into one. I never expected that all of these people could come together like this.” -Julian Lui, Alpha Kappa Psi

“This was only our first time on the floor at THON, and we had seen so many things not many other people have had the priviledge to see. It was amazing to see all the little intricacies that made up the backbone of THON — the small things you might not notice unless you just stop and take a look around. Organized chaos is really the only way to describe it. Each volunteer knew exactly what they were doing and exactly what was going on around them. While we, as outsiders, felt completely overwhelmed, the committee members took the mayhem in stride. I think I can speak for both of us when I say just how glad we are that we decided to head down to the floor early this morning. Although there’s much more that remains unseen, I’d like to think we now understand THON a little better than when we came to the BJC this morning.” -Catie Simpson, Onward State

“We were so anxious while waiting in line. You see pictures and videos, but this is truly a feeling that cannot be explained until you’ve experienced it.” -Anja Dietrich, Alpha Kappa Psi

“THON is everything. It’s our number one. [Greek Life] started THON and are very devoted.” -Alpha Chi Omega

“I gotta say that THON is incredible! From the walk over, through the human tunnel, to being on the floor, it’s been such an incredible experience. The food’s great, my moraler’s great, and everyone here is…well, great!” -Jerry Agosta, PSMA

“If you’re not sleeping, you’re here.” -Luke Olsen, Delta Chi

“It’s all volunteer. We have the obligation to stay as much as possible. The fact is, the dancers are working really hard for us. So we are going to work hard for them!” -Leah Sheppard, Kappa Kappa Gamma

“It’s hard to describe in words…it’s fun, exciting, tiring, but it’s all for the right reasons so I find it easy to mentally get through it.” -Brian Sanvido, Boulevard

“Even we have lost some of our THON children, you’ll notice on our shirts we have like ‘for Jazz’ and for whoever; we keep all our THON children in mind and with us no matter what. We’re still close with the families who have lost children and we’re still really active with them and because of our hard work we are constantly growing as an organization.” -Greg Despotidis, Acacia

“That’s part of what makes THON beautiful. Lack of sleep is the great social equalizer, and boy, are we tired right about now.” -Olivia Kerrigan, Onward State

“I love looking up in the stands and seeing all of my friends from my org and family cheering me on every step of the way. I especially have loved developing a close relationship with our THON family and spending time with hem on the floor has been incredible.” -Melissa Wenzel, NSSLHA

“Involve yourself in the environment. If you’re just standing and purely standing, you’re not going to survive. But if you are outgoing and participate then [THON] will be like a blink of an eye.” -Natalie Fisher, Morale Committee

“I know there are times it’s hard to remember why standing and staring at a door (if you’re on R&R) for hours at a time helps benefit the kids, or why whether or not you stand up or sit down in the stands will make a difference. The more tired you are, the harder it is to remember just why that is. But stop thinking that. Right now. While your feet are killing you and you can barely keep your eyes open, remember why you’ve done what you’ve done all year and never underestimate your effect.” -Bailey Siegel, Onward State

We don’t have time to be on committees or dance, so this is our way of giving back.” -Zack Zwinack, Penn State running back

“To say we are honored that we were honored that the overall committee wanted to create this award in our daughter’s name would be putting it lightly. Knowing Courtney’s name will be forever linked to THON truly warms our hearts. Compassion for others and for a cause is what I believe this award is all about. Putting a piece of yourself into THON for the kids, for the families, feeling their pain, and giving them a hug.” -Lisa Brigandi, mother of Courtney O’Bryan

“Something I’ve realized is how much more effort and work is required for captains and committee members than dancers. Maybe my attitude will change over time, but I have seen many Rules & Regulations captains or OPP committee members looking far more stressed and exerted than myself. I just get to play with kids, dance, eat, repeat.” -Joel Kreider, dancer

“I think I finally have a true appreciation of what THON truly is. It’s all about the personal sacrifice you’re making, but knowing that it’s beyond worth the pain and stress you’re putting yourself under. I’ve had some good and bad patches up until now, and I know things will only get harder from here, but I know there’s no turning back now. I’m a dancer in THON, and I’m going all the way till the end.” -Jerry Agosta, PSMA

“This is the best event in the whole world.” -Total Whiteout frontman Eric Henkels

“[Donating massages at THON] started at a company I worked for. Now we’re doing it. It’s the right thing to do.” -Aaron Pavlechko, owner of Integrative Bodywork School of Massage

“Everyone’s different and we’re just a bunch of strange people and somehow it just works.” -Kim Odenthal, Atlas

“While most people have four years to experience these changes, I’ve had two decades… Many things have changed over the years, but one thing that hasn’t changed is the inspiration these families provide for us each and every THON weekend. They always thank us, but we should be thanking them for letting us be a part of their journey.” -Anna Ungar, the Penn State student who never missed a THON in her life

“I got it to remind me of the kids, and how they make each and every one of us live up to the Four Diamonds: Courage, Honesty, Wisdom, and Strength.” -Adam Krempasky, the IST dancer with the Four Diamonds tattoo 

“Look around. This is what the world needs to see. Not the other crap. What the media needs to report about these kids, it gives me chills.” -Jodie, mother of Sigma Pi’s dancer Ryan

“I wanted to do this and I will stay as long as I need to stay.” -Dakota, freshman, HOSpitality Committee

“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.” -Kenny Bui, Morale Committee

“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.” -Matt Rodgers, Morale Committee

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

“My feet ache, but it’s a dull pain muted by the tremendous energy in the BJC!” -Joel Kreider, dancer

“Our Teddy never made it to THON, but we’re so inspired that people he never met… would work so hard… for kids like him. You dance for a little boy who never spoke a word, who never took a step, but whose life has inspired thousands to beat cancer.” -Gina Morton, Four Diamonds Parent

“THON is not just trying to find a cure for cancer. THON is doing the impossible. I’ve learned so many things about myself, including how emotionally unstable I am after 40+ hours awake. I think I can finally understand just what it means to say “We dance for those who can’t.” When I was asked to write down why I THON, I came up with a semi-inspired thought from a dream – “THON is that one chance in your life to be a superhero, even if it’s just for 46 hours.”  Now, after being on that journey for myself…well I can say it speaks the truth.” -Jerry Agosta, PSMA

“I wanted to let everyone here know that you are doing something amazing.” -Kait Weston

“One of the reasons I’ve made it this far is because of people like you. Thank you, Penn State!” -Bryce Carter, Four Diamonds child

“We’ll dance in celebration one day when we finally kick cancer’s ass!” -Tammy Golden, Four Diamonds Parent

“To me, that is what Penn State is all about. Courage, honesty, wisdom, and strength. If there is one thing I learned in the last year, that is what we as a student body and a university are all about. People thank me all the time, but I thank them because to me this is the greatest university in the country, in the world, because of days like today.” -Coach Bill O’Brien

“This weekend is the greatest event that happens on any college campus anywhere in the world. And without that, all of you Penn State students, alumni, you know you’ll hear what we’ve had to deal with from people at other schools. But I can tell you, don’t you ever, EVER back down from the name Penn State. Don’t you ever back down! …Penn State is the students, it’s the pride, it’s what you do for others. That’s what makes us unique! That’s what separates us from every other school in America…Now I have no inside information, but I just know Penn Staters. You put a challenge in front of us, we don’t knock at the the door. We KICK. IT. IN! …All of you that are involved in THON will leave college knowing that you have inspired tomorrow’s miracles and you have saved lives. How many people can leave college, look in the mirror and say, ‘I’ve saved a life?’ … Nothing can erase the history you will make here this weekend. Nothing with erase the history that’s in your hearts and in our hearts. The smiles you will have this weekend, the tears, the laughter, and yes, the pain nothing will ever erase that …Your summit is at hand. Dance for those who have been saved, dance for those who will be saved, and also remember those who were not saved. Their lives, their stories, compel you to dance to the summit of Everest. And when you’ve made it, you will know what you’ve done. You will know what you’ve accomplished. And you can yell with a voice that will echo across the generations. We did it FOR THE KIDS!” -Jay Paterno

“THON is Penn State, and it will always be Penn State.” -Charles Millard, founder of the Four Diamonds Fund

Please share with us whatever inspirational quotes you heard or touching moments you experienced at THON this weekend.

Photo By: Steve Osborn
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Alicia Thomas

Alicia is a senior majoring in Print Journalism and Spanish. Chances are that she's somewhere talking about her semester abroad or ranting about sexual assault prevention right now. She can be reached via Twitter (@aliciarthomas) or email ([email protected]).

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