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Justin Burns Shows Us the Meaning of THON

The 46 hours of THON weekend mean many things to many people, but to 7-year-old Justin Burns, it’s a chance to hang out with the big kids. I got a chance to speak with Justin and his mother Maria Sunday morning as the final hours approached. I found out his favorite THON activities and hobbies and how he spent his weekend in State College.

The Burns are a Four Diamond Family from Avoca, PA. Justin is Glee Club/Oriana’s (GC/O) Four Diamonds Child. Traveling with his mother to State College Friday, this is Justin’s second THON weekend. Unfortunately, Justin’s father Jeff had to stay home, but his mother informed me his father has been watching the live-stream.

Justin seems at home on the dance floor, chasing after balloons and playing with a baseball shaped bouncy-ball. When I first met him, he was following along with the fitness stretch. He tells me that bouncing and throwing balls is his favorite THON activities, and that he hopes to play baseball at Penn State when he gets older.

During their 16+ hours at the BJC, Justin has no shortage of ways to occupy himself. He has completed a scavenger hunt for Four Diamonds Children, participated in the fashion show, sung during the 10 a.m. variety show and hung out with the GC/O dancers. When they weren’t supporting dancers Matt Reese and Katie Barton, Justin and his mother got to check out the campus, shooting photos at the Lion Shrine, hanging out with Penn State linebacker Nathan Stupar and even takeing a seat at JoPa’s desk.

The end of the 46 hours nears, and Justin seems to be having the time of his life — and shows now sign of losing steam. He is incredibly interested in my camera and even takes a picture of his own.

As I leave, Justin is playing catch with Matt, the latter cracking his first real smile in several hours. It’s moments like this that embody what these 46 hours mean to me.

About the Author

Nick Johnson

Nick is a junior majoring in IST (the Internet) and CAS (saying things). He hopes to one day get paid to do this, but for now he is willing to do it for the fame. Besides writing for Onward State, he also puts things on the Internet here.


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