The 708 dancers who took the floor of the Bryce Jordan Center THON weekend included a handful of captains. Among those captains, one was called into action to assist his committee.
Doug Jordan, a fifth-year Masters in Computer Science student and State College native, was selected as a third-year Technology Captain and a dancer for Club Cross Country for THON 2016. He’s been a Club Cross Country member since his freshman year and a PASS Development and PASS Project Management Technology Captain the last two years. As a coding Technology Captain, he was an integral member to the backbone of THON. This year, as a Data Analytics Captain, he was able to dance.
Despite his excitement, Jordan was going to miss being a Technology Captain for the weekend. He said he had joked that sometime during the weekend they would need him, especially after THON 2015, when he was woken up early from his second sleep shift to help code.
During this year’s big weekend, he was called for help again. While many THON volunteers are familiar with the PASS system, very few know how it works. Jordan is one of those few and is one of the people to trailblaze the progression of the system. During the Head of PASS Projects Captain’s sleep shifts, Jordan assisted with coding from the floor.
“I was really glad I could help out in anyway I could,” Jordan said. “It helped the weekend go by faster… It kept my mind busy.” Since solving problems under pressure is one of his favorite things about THON, helping with coding made his weekend even more fulfilling.
Jordan’s commitment and talent hasn’t gone unnoticed this year. Jordan was awarded with the Diamond of Wisdom Award at the Road to THON Celebration in January for his knowledge and contribution of coding and technological development.
“It was a really big honor,” Jordan said. Two years prior, his predecessor who got him involved had won the award. “He was always a role model for me and it was really cool to be awarded that after he had received it as well.”
Outside the impressive name he has made for himself in the THON community are a few more accolades. This past calendar year, he served as the President of Club Cross Country while doing research in the College of IST and pursing a minor in Mathematics.
The opportunity to work with code on the floor was only part of what made THON great for Jordan though. In THON 2012, Jordan’s first THON, Club Cross Country spent THON with their newly adopted family, the Bryce Carter Family. This year in his last THON, he was able to spend it with their newest family, the Gideon Fisher family.
“I don’t even have words to describe,” Jordan said reflecting on the weekend and how his involvement came full circle.
But Jordan had a hard time trying to put into words why he THONs. He paused and grumbled and tried to make sure he could do his experience justice.
“It’s the hardest question in the world,” he said. This year he had the opportunity to get closer to the Gideon Fisher family and saw Gideon go through treatments and still talked about THON and his excitement for the weeks leading up. After THON, the Carter family shared that the younger sister cried on the way home and wanted to see everyone again.
“Just the fact that for a weekend cancer goes away for all these kids is why I THON.”