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about 8 months ago

What THON Means to a 29-Year-Old Cancer Survivor

DiamondsPreTHON

Lynn Brobst, a 29-year-old cancer survivor and THON child shared with us what THON means to her. We dance in less than an hour!

I tried to write the story of my first THON repeatedly and each and every time I noticed that there is no way to even begin to describe exactly what that experience was like for me. I tried and tried to go into full detail of the thousands of people gathered together and the bright colored shirts and costumes. I tried to even tell the story of the family lounge. The issue is that each time…I run out of words to describe that emotion.

The thing is…how do you explain to someone that has never witnessed such an amazing thing…what THON is? I can go into the technicalities and say that it is an event that is held each year to raise money for kids with cancer…which it is, but that’s only the beginning. THON isn’t just a fundraising event. It is much more than that. It’s a place to feel like a kid again. It’s a place for a cancer survivor or cancer patient to feel that they are like everyone else. It’s a place to celebrate the lives of those who have fought and won the battle and a place to remember and dance for those who are no longer with us.

THON is a place that builds memories. It’s a place like no other…and it’s not even a place. The emotion that I associate with THON does not even exist. There are no words to describe the deep overwhelming sense of love and emotion that flood through your body the second you set eyes on the beauty of it. The actions are the word. My first THON was an emotional one and each one thereafter was as well. Each time my eyes see the gym filled with all those people gathered together my heart immediately fills with love and the tears roll down my cheeks. That feeling is like no other. Thousands of people are gathered together for ONE reason, and that reason is to fight for a cure. Within minutes, you form a friendship with people you don’t even know and that feeling stays with you forever. Your family that may be of 3 people instantly becomes 5000 and you know that no matter what happens, this family will stay with you for the rest of your life. THON will change your life there is no doubt about that. It is impossible to be the same person you were upon taking part in this amazing journey.

I don’t know if things happen for a reason and I don’t know if there was one for me getting sick. I know that things sometimes happen and there isn’t anything we can do about it. But there is a small part of me that is almost grateful for the experience because that cancer of mine opened my eyes to things that I never thought possible. It showed me that it’s possible to feel love in a matter of seconds. It showed me that there are thousands upon thousands of people that are willing to do everything they can to fight for a cure. It showed me that no matter what, people will always be there. It showed me THON. It allowed me to be part of this miracle and made me feel that I am not alone. I hope that in my lifetime THON as amazing as it is…will be a celebration of a cure, and not for a cure. I hope that one day we can stand and say no more. I wish that the tears and heartbreak of the loss of a loved one were not there, and I wish that there was something to take that option away. I hope and pray that one day cancer will be something that is treated by one small pill without the nasty side effects and I hope that one day the word cure is spoken on a daily basis. I know that we aren’t there yet…but I am hopeful that we are there in the near future because THAT is why we THON.

image Mara Kern
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