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Dancer Dan: He Speaks at Hour 27

It has been 27 hours since I stood up from the floor of the Bryce Jordan Center. My behind has not touched any surface since, with the exception of a toilet in the men’s restroom in the Bryce Jordan Center (a Corner Room breakfast will do that to you). Here are some of the highlights so far, and some of my other thoughts about what is going to be the most-remembered weekend of my young life.

I always figured that walking onto the BJC floor would be a surreal experience, but nothing could have prepared me for what I walked into a little after 4 p.m. on Friday afternoon.

First off, I wondered why it was so dark. The excitement of walking through the human tunnel inside the arena was multiplied by a hundred when I saw laser beams shooting through and over the top of the walls that surrounded me. After making my way through the smoke-filled gymnasium, I unloaded my things in my locker and made my way back out to sit for the remaining minutes I had left.

After watching the new pre-THON, fully equipped with a high-tech telling of the story of the Four Diamonds I went on stage to accompany our THON child’s sister for her singing of the national anthem. Then, came the countdown that we had all been waiting for–it started at ten and we were on our feet before we knew it. The first eight hours were uneventful. We ate. We played. We were excited to be out there and didn’t have a worry in the world yet. That’s when I made my first mistake.

Going into the locker room to change my clothes, I decided to go with only one pair of socks instead of two. I had two pairs on when I entered the BJC (your normal white cotton and then a pair of red soccer socks). And without that extra layer of protection, I was struggling by 8:00 a.m. after not having slept for 23 hours. My calves felt like they were ready to explode.

In addition to the leg pains and weariness, the Corner Room delivered us breakfast during the six o’clock hour and by seven, many dancers started heading to the bathroom. My digestive system decided to play the waiting game and I didn’t not begin to feel the wrath of those scrambled eggs and sausage until about nine.

After relieving myself and putting an extra pair of socks on, I was good to go. Ever since, I have had a little pain in my feet, but nothing approaching the unbearable level.

Michael Woods, our THON child, participated in the Kid’s Fashion Show and blew the doors off as is customary for him. Michael is a cancer survivor and has unofficially been cancer-free for five years now (his appointment was rescheduled this past week). If you read my post on Thursday, you’d know that he was who I was talking about when I said that there are lives that must be lived.

My parents arrived at the BJC around 11:00 a.m. and my mom made it to the floor around 3:00 p.m. My dad was not able to break through the wretched pass system. They came in not really understanding THON, and I’m disappointed to say that they left the same way. But I was extremely happy that they came to support me in the last huge event I’ll do while I’m close to home.

I’m lucky to have a support staff of friends, family and 10,000 other people in the Bryce Jordan Center to help me get through these last 19 hours. I know that they will only get harder from here on out, but those around me will make sure that I’m still dancing towards a cure come 4:00 p.m. tomorrow afternoon.

For all your @THON coverage and Dancer Dan updates, follow @THONwardstate and check out our live blog and of course @DanVecellio to see what he’s up to.

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About the Author

Dan Vecellio

Dan is a graduate student in meteorology, hailing from Bradford, Pennsylvania. His interests include sports, Penn State and commons cheesesteaks. Feel free to contact me through my email or follow me on Twitter.

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