Family Hour: The Reason for THON
There was hardly a dry eye in the crowd as this year’s Family Hour drew to a close. The entire stadium sang along to Alabama’s “Angels Among Us” as people on the floor and in the stands joined arms and swayed together.
Family Hour is what THON is all about. It is a chance for the families helped by the Four Diamonds Fund and THON to share their gratitude. Families shared their stories; stories with happy and bittersweet endings. One former THON Child, now a mother of two, spoke about her experiences at THON 1984. Eli Sidler, who was hours earlier dancing to “Men in Black”, spoke about his three surgeries and radiation treatments, and still kept up his optimistic attitude.
Founder of the Four Diamonds Fund, Charles Millard, was the most obviously emotional of all, thanking everyone for keeping the spirit of his son, Christopher, alive. Each of the 240 THON Families participating was introduced as well, every one receiving cheers and applause from the audience.
Towards the end of the hour, the yearly Celebration of Life video played, honoring those THON Children who are no longer with us. The BJC stood silent save for a few punctuated laughs and sobs. I found myself tearing up more than once throughout the proceedings.
The previous 42 hours are hard pressed to compete with these final 4. We’re in the home stretch.