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We Are…the Dancers (By Hour 9)

Most people know of THON as the huge charity dance-a-thon that raises vast sums of money for children with cancer. But what does it take to be a THON dancer?

You can’t sleep for days on end.

You line up to eat buffet-style food at designated intervals.

You use communal bathrooms.

You aren’t allowed to know the time.

You are called out by a DJ when it’s time to take your medication.

You dance your ass off.

Sounds like some crazy acid trip of a dream doesn’t it. Many would consider it crazy.

But for Matt Swingle, 21, he’s wanted to dance in THON ever since he was a freshman. Now that he’s a senior, he says that “to be one of the 700 plus dancers is an honor and to know how much it means to these families is impossible to explain.”

These minor inconveniences are just a bigger part of what makes THON one of the most significant contributions to society that Penn State has to offer. And therefore I will be attempting the 46-hour stretch as well, albeit with seats and less dancing.

Swingle is prepared. He thinks that he’s gotten enough sleep the night before to make it through the next 35 hours. He thinks he’ll be fine up until Sunday night. But if you’ve ever pulled an all-nighter, you know that “it” kicks in sooner than you think. And then the hallucinations kick in. And then it gets weird.

Stay tuned to hear about the dancers slowly begin to reenact Lord of the Flies. But in this version Piggy gets killed by the giant Jenga-type constructions the dancers are building in the middle of the floor.

About the Author

Tom Kent

I was born in Virginia Beach, raised in Westfield, NJ, went to college at Penn State, moved to Miami, FL. Peruvian on mom's side and English on my Dad's. I'm a Journalism major and Political Science minor. I do not currently own any reptiles.


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