We Are…The Dancers (The Final Hours)
THON’s 46 hours are coming to a close, and surprisingly the dance floor is still packed with dancers and the Bryce Jordan Center has officially closed its doors and a line has formed outside.
The situation behind the scenes, however, isn’t as pretty and colorful as it is out on the floor. Dancers have been forced to quit due to exhaustion. Many are holding each other, crying on one another’s shoulders for support as they battle the physical and mental toll that staying awake and on one’s feet for 46 hours can have.
I, unfortunately did not make it the entire 46 hours and fell asleep at my computer on a few occasions.
But Matt Swingle and the majority of the rest of the dancers persevered. They fought the urge to sleep, to give up, to quit, and they won.
Swingle’s feet were swollen and throbbing. He had to step out to get some fresh air to keep from getting sick. And when I tapped him on the back to greet him, he at first had assumed it was some sort of sensory hallucination. He was slowly succumbing to exhaustion, he would have to be, just as everyone else would have to be. But if you could help it, you wouldn’t dare show it. You wouldn’t admit defeat.
We both couldn’t believe the amount of people that had showed up to witness the final events of THON. And during family hour when various members of the Four Diamonds families spoke about their children’s heart-wrenching tales of hardship and certain death in the face of cancer, the arena echoed with sniffles and sobs.
There are two hours left for Matt and the rest of the dancers. It’s almost heartbreaking in a way. In some respects, I think the dancers, I, and anyone else who have endured a considerable lack of sleep just want to go home and get in our beds and sleep until State Patty’s Day.
And on the other hand, THON is an experience that many will not soon forget. It offers a remarkable chance of hope to children who desperately need it.
It’s not over yet. And THON is now the third-ranked trending topic worldwide.