THON Dancers Reflect (And Sleep)
We’re now four days out, and our collective THON hangover is finally subsiding. Now that the 707 dancers are (hopefully) all fully recovered, we caught up with a few to ask them some questions about their once-in-a-lifetime experience, including:
1. How long did you sleep afterward?
2. How difficult was it compared to how you thought it would be?
3. What was your favorite part of THON?
Penn State Dance Alliance
1. 17 hours
2. Ten times easier I think. I don’t know if it was being there with the kids, or just the magic of THON in general. I feel like even if I didn’t get down when I did I could have kept going.”
3. I would say those moments that you have when you know that you put a smile on that kids face. Whether it’s a bubble fight or water fight or whatever. You know you have their attention for those five seconds and they’re not worrying about anything else.
Peace. Love. Lyrical. Dance Company
1. I was too amped up to go to bed immediately afterward so I chatted with my roommate and checked FB for the first time since Friday morning…then crashed and slept 8 p.m.- 11 a.m.
2. The 46 hours went by so much faster than I expected! Every one –fellow dancers, moralers, committee members, friends, and everyone in the stands — made the whole experience so positive that the whole weekend was a total blast.
3. Dancing on the floor with my fellow dancers Maggie, John, and Steve and our moralers right in front of the Peace Love Pi Lam stand section! Also receiving dancer mail was extremely touching and motivational. And spending time with our THON family, who were at THON for the first time!
1 I fell asleep at 5:30 and woke up at 10:30 so 17 hours. (Fun fact, I woke up and drove to York because one of my best friend’s girlfriends went into labor right after I woke up.)
2. Dancing ended up much easier than I thought. It’s a whole different ball game being on the floor versus the stands the whole time. Everyone is there to support you and help you out if you need anything. Don’t get me wrong, I had some really rough times. Sunday morning I started crying and didn’t have the slightest idea why, but the downs are almost followed by the ups.
3. This is probably what a lot of people say, but this is the first year we had a THON family. I seriously could not have handled getting through it without them. Watching the look on my THON moms face as we stood was priceless, enough to keep me going all 46 hours.
1. I got home around 5:00 and passed out as soon as my head hit the pillow. The only struggle with going to bed was actually getting into my bed, since it is lofted and requires me to climb up on my desk and then into my bed. I only woke up for water around 8 a.m. and then actually got up around 11:00.
2. It weirdly was not as difficult as I thought it would be. The energy in the building is electric, and the crowd is so easy to feed off of. Anytime I started to feel even a little bad, a little kid would squirt me with a water gun, or I would look up and see Apollo members killing in the stands. They would hold up our “NGU” (Never Give Up) sign and I would instantly feel better. My moraler, David Williams, was absolutely amazing too. HE kept me stretched out and moving the entire time, which was really important. He kept asking me questions and making me do things with him, and he kept me laughing, which was amazing. By the time I was struggling a little during the Final Four, Go Go Gadget came on and it was like getting a shot of adrenaline pumped into my system. I barely sat after the countdown for dancers to sit, because I was so excited about all of the total reveals.
3. There were so many parts that could have been my favorite. Seeing my moraler at the beginning of his last shift was amazing. Family Hour is always heartbreaking, but in a way that motivates you to keep dancing. It was also our new 4D family’s first THON and it was incredible to see Devanhi throw up balloons and squirt us with water guns and really enjoy her first THON. During Go Go Gadgets’s cover of the Goo Goo Dolls, the Apollo dancers linked arms with water polo and Springfield and sang our hearts out, and it was really incredible to come together as different orgs and share our passion for the cause. But I have to say that one moment that really resonated with me was when a Hershey Medical Center staff member (I think she said she was a doctor) came up and personally thanked me for everything I have done for them. I burst into tears because it hit home really hard how all the work we put in all year really makes a difference. Getting a personal thank you from someone that directly benefits from our fundraising was incredible and I already have started planning for THON 2015!
1. I slept from 5:30 p.m. Sunday until around 9 Monday morning, so roughly 15.5 hours, give or take a bit.
2. I would say it was both more difficult and less difficult, depending on what time of day it was. I had a lot of friends who danced in the past so I felt like I knew what I was coming, and for the most part I did. Since I did everything they and my amazing moraler recommended, like getting a massage, stretching frequently, drinking lots of fluids, alternating between Gatorade and water, and only going to the bathroom if I knew I wouldn’t fall asleep in there, I was physically fine. I was actually surprised that it wasn’t as physically tough as I imagined it being. Don’t get me wrong, it is still the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life, but after a certain point, I realized that my feet and calves would never hurt more than they did in that moment, so that made it a little bit better. Like I went into the weekend believing that at some point my legs would give out, and thankfully they didn’t. Mentally though, it was so much tougher than I imagined. I couldn’t stop crying for around 2 hours, had an absolute breakdown when I could see my mom in the stands but she couldn’t get down to me, and I definitely went crazy on Sunday morning. People kept telling me that in the early mornings when everyone leaves it’s the worst, and for whatever reason I didn’t believe them. But they were completely right. I was unprepared for how much I needed to be around certain people, and when they weren’t there, or when other people were there instead of them, I didn’t handle it well at all. I also didn’t handle going crazy that well either. I felt myself getting weirder and weirder, and I told my partner’s moraler that I was tripping out. During one of the meals, it felt like I didn’t have control of my motor skills, like I missed my mouth when I tried to drink water and it took me over three tries to get mac and cheese on a fork. After that it felt like I was floating above my own body when I was trying to change outfits, and it felt like everything was moving in slow motion, like I could feel it happening but wouldn’t see it happen until a second later. I felt like I was the only one it was happening to and it really scared me. It wasn’t until my best friend (a former dancer and now captain) gave me a pep talk that I finally calmed down and accepted my mental state, and once the acceptance kicked in it gradually went away. People always tell you that they went crazy, but you never believe it will happen to you. So that was much harder than I expected. The entire weekend is a mental game. I will say this though, when the right piece of inspiration comes along, you forget all the hurt for a little bit and feel no pain. For me that moment was when I saw my THON family’s dad write on a balloon “Xander, 5 years cancer-free, thank you THON,” then hand it to my THON child to throw in the air. In that moment, I realized that I would never endure the pain that little boy went through, and he is alive because of THON. In that moment I felt no pain and no fatigue. If you have the right mentality or the right inspiration, you can withstand even the worst moments.
3. Aside from all the things that people typically love (Family Hour, learning the line dance, the final line dance, sitting down, the pep rally, mail call, etc), I really loved the human tunnel. I loved all the other things too, but human tunnel was my absolute favorite. I loved it so much because it finally felt like THON was real. There we all (dancers) were, marching into the BJC with all these people there to support us and cheer us on. Since we got to see every person face to face, it felt more special to me than seeing people up in the stands. I was lucky because some of my closest friends are on committees so a lot of them were actually in the tunnel. My committee was there, my moraler was there, my best friend was there, and best of all, there were Four Diamonds families in there, too. Tons of kids looking so excited to see you and give you a huge high five. Everyone hugs or high fives you the entire way through the 5-plus minute walk but there was one family that stood out. About halfway through the tunnel there was this Four Diamonds father there with his wife, and he took the time to shake every single dancer’s hand, looks us in the eyes, and say “thank you.” It was such a simple gesture of pure appreciation and gratitude that it left me in tears. It was the first moment of the weekend that made me remember exactly why I was dancing in the first place.
Penn State Finance Society
1. So I slept for 12 straight hours, woke up for about an hour at 5 a.m. and then slept another 3 and a half hours. That doesn’t count the 10 or so minute nap when I fell asleep in the shower right after getting back.
2. It definitely was not as difficult as I thought it would be. The love and support of my friends was phenomenal, and inspired me when I needed it most. I also had the best moraler of all time (Emma Hergenreder), who went above and beyond to help me get through the weekend.
3. During the final four hours, we were with our THON family. After the reveal, we were all celebrating the new total, and our THON child (Erica Myers) and her mother both gave me huge hugs, with tears in their eyes, and thanked me. It helped to remind me why I THON, and was just the perfect ending to the best weekend of my life.
1. After THON I slept for 15 hours.
2. It was less difficult than I thought it would be.
3. My favorite part of THON was playing with some of the four diamonds kids on the floor and hanging out with out THON families!
1. I slept from 6 p.m.-10 a.m. (with an awake break from 4-6) so 14 hours?
2. It was less difficult than what I thought but I also expected the worst, my feet didn’t hurt as much as I thought (it was bad but bearable) and I wasn’t as tired as I thought, until I hit my pillow!
3. My favorite part of THON was seeing our families faces when the total was raised-every dollar, every smile, every single moment was for them and seeing it really affect them was the best moment to know we’ve made and difference for all of them!!
Student Pennsylvania State Education Association (SPSEA)
1. I slept from 5:30 p.m.-8:00 a.m. 14.5 (worked at 10 but woke up naturally at 8) still living on adrenaline.
2. Not difficult at all. Being able to play with the kids all weekend long was the most indescribable experience that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. They were so happy to be there and I was so grateful to be able to spend time with them and play games and squirt water at them I didn’t want it to end. I knew the time because I have been on committees in the past. It all went too fast. On Sunday morning, I was wishing it was friday evening. It was dream to dance for the kids. They are so strong and so funny and enjoy life with every part of their being. It was impossible not to do the same.
3. I loved every second of it and breathed in every moment. Every moment was my favorite moment of THON. Every time I saw my THON family, Every time I saw a kid laugh because they just hit me in the face with a squirt gun, every time I saw my beautiful moraler Katie Marino, or the time when I just stopped during the song “shout” and just looked at everyone all around me supporting the greatest cause in the world. Every time I got to give our THON child Carmen a piggy back ride and watching her niece cut her hair on stage. Doing the line dance on stage and meeting kids who danced with me and blew bubbles with me. Every moment was my favorite moment. Greatest weekend of my life.
1. At the end of THON I was extremely exhausted. I slept for 15 hours straight and can say it was one of the best sleeps ever.
2. Last year, I stayed all 46 hours in the stands cheering on the kids who danced for Sigma Alpha Epsilon that year. So this year, THON was much easier for me because there was so much to do on the floor. Being able to walk around and interact with your friends and the THON families really makes the time fly.
3. My favorite part of THON weekend was definitely looking up into the stands and seeing all of my best friends in Sigma Alpha Epsilon and Pi Beta Phi dancing their hearts out and cheering us on. Honestly, every time I looked up, I could count on them to be dancing with everything they had left in them so it motivated me to break it down right back at ’em!
1. I slept from 6- 12:30 so 18 hours!
2. 2 I knew that it would be hard and that my feet would hurt, but I was not prepared for how hard mentally! it was easy to get frustrated at times with the pass system and not being able to find people on the floor.
3. My absolute favorite part of the weekend, and the reason why I do it is when my organization, Club Swim’s THON child, Cole, gave me a hug and thanked me for dancing. We had both of our THON families, the Hamiltons and the Benovys with us on the floor and the emotions in that moment were indescribable. I never had such clarity for why we THON.
1. I slept for 17 hours after.
2. It was difficult but not more difficult than before, I had a great moraler and so did my partner, a whole lot of support as well so that helped so much!
3. Favorite part of THON was hanging out with our IDC pairing family. We had an awesome time getting in water gun fights, dancing, opening kids mail call, and just enjoying watch him have so much fun!
1. 16 hours
2. Way less difficult than I thought. I didn’t struggle at all physically. I started to get delirious Sunday morning, but that was the only hard part
3. Dancing on stage with our 4d kid, Kaitlyn!
1. Although I planned on coming home and eating a complete homemade meal by my dancer partner/roommate’s mom, I could barely keep my eyes open waiting for her to heat it up, so I crawled into bed around 5:20 and slept until about 8:00 that morning. I honestly though I would sleep longer, but 14 hours and 40 minutes was plenty!
2. Going into THON weekend I was very scared that I wouldn’t be able to keep both the mental and physical state in order to push through the entire 46 hours, but it was easier than I thought due to my support system. If I didn’t have my best friend, moraler, committee, and of course dancer partner, I never would have gotten through as well as I did. They kept me distracted in order to keep me in a better mental state and unfocused on my physical pain. I was also worried that my lack of activity for the previous few weeks would be an issue, but the continuous stretching I did was also very helpful in getting me through.
3. My absolute favorite part of THON was undoubtedly the final four hours. I think that the ability those hours have to make you focus so much on the families that your pain completely disappears is so unbelievably powerful. The opportunity to see what our actions do monetarily and emotionally for the Four Diamonds Families is not something I can put into words, but is something you just feel warming your heart. That warmth sparks the motivation within dancers more than anything all of THON weekend, and for me, solidified that all of the pain I experienced while dancing and standing was the most worthwhile thing I had ever done in my life.
Alpha Omicron Pi
1. I slept for 16 hours after. I even fell asleep on the car ride home from the BJC! Ha!
2. Honestly, I did not struggle really at all and I was surprised at how well I did! Never got loopy and I kept smiling for all 46!! Dancing is 90% mental for sure!!
3. My favorite part of THON was seeing the kids’ smiling faces and also doing the old line dances!
South Asian Student Association (SASA)
1. I slept 15-16 hours.
2. it really wasn’t that difficult at all ! At least for me exhaustion wasn’t a huge factor , just my feet hurting got to me. Dealing with that was the hardest.
3. my favorite part of THON was being out on the main floor with my THON family. They mean more than everything to me and inspire me day in and day out. I also loved spending time with my other dancers. I feel like I gained 5 amazing new best friends who have seen me through everything. I loved seeing the acts on stage too.
Essence of Joy
1. I slept for 15 hrs! Way less than some people I know!
2. I completely underestimated how hard that would be. Mentally I prepared for a “tough” weekend but that was more than just tough. That was a marathon and I couldn’t have done it without my best friend Ashley Lope as my dance partner. Everything about dancing and staying awake was straining. I don’t think I was prepared for my feet to hurt as much. And at the end my legs and every muscle felt like lead. I didn’t expect that to happen. Mild discomfort is what some ppl said it would be like. Nope, this was more than that for me.
3. Favorite part was getting to do crazy dance moves for my friends standing with our org. The longer we were at thon the crazier our moves got and it was so fun getting to communicate everything just by dancing! I actually “danced” for almost all of THON!
1. I got home from THON around 4:45-5ish. I unpacked all the dancer mail, packages and everything I brought to THON and slept from 7 p.m. to 8 a.m. I then proceeded to attend my class at 9 a.m.
2. I always knew THON would be difficult; a physical and mental challenge. I think being a negative person like myself was a huge disadvantage, because natural positiveness makes the “lows” of THON (in pain, tired, etc.) easier to get through. It is something that I was honored to say I did, but I will never brag and say, “Oh it was easy, people over exaggerate and say it was hard.” That’s a downright lie, it’s hard.
3. My favorite part of THON was having some of my best friends, and my girlfriend on the floor representing Science LionPride and having a mini-dance party. Also all the time I spent with my moraler, overlapping moraler, and dancing partner was truly amazing. Some extraordinary people I did all of this with.
1. 14 hours asleep + 2 hours awake in bed Monday morning, worried about testing my legs.
2. I thought I had it all figured out because my reference point was the Philadelphia Marathon and honestly, I worried about the wrong things. I worried about that one big goal when THON is all about small goals like changing socks and nailing the line dance chorus. I worried about not getting any dancer mail when I should’ve figured out how I’d push all those awesome, decorated shoeboxes into my dancer locker. Dancing was something else.
3. Springfield welcomed a new Four Diamonds family this year and it was an absolute honor sharing THON with the Silbaugh family. After four years, I honestly forget some of the THON magic but playing with their kids and reading their dancer mail made THON 2014 something special.
Theta Delta Chi (TDX)
1. I probably slept for about 14 hours. My legs were so messed up I couldn’t jump up to my lofted bed so I ended up on the couch.
2. Physically, I did a lot better than I thought I would. But, there were times I was an emotional wreck. Time stood completely still and I couldn’t comprehend how I still had so many hours to go at points.
3. My favorite part was either the human tunnel, or watching TDX hold up signs with my name and chant my name to keep me going. It just seemed like the entire BJC was there for me and I just felt so big.
Na Yeun Jiggy Yoon
1. I slept for about 17 hours .
2. It actually wasn’t as difficult has i thought it would be… it wasn’t easy, oh definitely. But, when I thought about the kids, and first-hand saw the kids having a great time and when I got to play with the kids, and when I remembered the reasons why i was dancing, it wasn’t hard, because it can’t compare to their struggles. I almost felt like thinking it was hard would make me feel selfish.
3. Our 4 diamonds family, The Polizzis, my partner, and I had a water gun war with RAM at the stands. It got real intense and it was so much fun. My best friends from home also came to surprise me, as well as, my brother from Michigan. The last time I had seen him was last year when we picked up my mother’s cremated ashes, so, it really meant so much to me that he made the trip to see me and support me no matter the long drive.
Alpha Omicron Pi
1. After THON I slept for about 12 and 1/2 hours. I definitely could have slept for at least six more (I actually remember saying “noooooooo” when I heard my alarm go off) but I was determined to make it to my 9:05 a.m. class. Before THON I was not much of a student, but THON has made me realize that if I truly want to make a difference in this world, my education is the number one thing that will lead me to a position in which I can really do so; I knew I had to go to class.
2. To be completely honest, as excited as I was to dance in THON, I was equally nervous. Staying awake for 46 hours is not normal, but staying awake AND on your feet for 46 hours is definitely not normal. Nobody knows how his or her body is going to respond and that really scared me. Of course it hurt, and at one point I hit a six hour wall during which I was nervous I would never break through it, but luckily I did. I knew I was going to be in a significant amount of pain, but I did not even think it was possible for my feet to hurt as much as they did during the final four hours. However, that is the whole point. I am fortunate to have felt the pain that I did, because it is the dancer’s way of taking the pain away from the children and families for 46 hours and I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. Overall, the pain and fatigue was hard, but doable, and truly not as bad as I was expecting.
3. My favorite part of THON was when the total went up. Partly because of the numbers that were up on the stage, but mostly because I was lucky enough to be standing next to a brand new Four Diamonds Family when it did. I met this family during the 2013 Family Carnival and to be able to share the moment with them when we saw how much our year-long fundraising efforts paid off was a feeling my words cannot do justice to. The Four Diamonds child and I were crying our eyes out together in disbelief and I will never forget hearing her say over and over again “thank you, thank you, thank you so much. I can’t thank you enough for doing this for kids like me.” I turned to hug her mother and she said to me, “thank you for dancing, you have no idea how much this money is going to help us.” In this moment, the Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon’s mission was defined.
1. I slept for 15.5 hours afterward
2. It wasnt as difficult as I was expecting actually! I only hit two low points and I had my awesome moraler, Lou, to help me through the first one and one of my close friends, Meara, to help me through the second. Otherwise, my legs and back stayed strong and my foot pain didn’t really start until mid morning Sunday. There was too much going on to really think about pain.
3. I loved playing with all the kids. We were lucky enough to have both our THON families, the Bonners and the Espinozas, come up for the weekend. The water gun wars with all the boys was incredible. I was soaked, but it was worth it. They were shooting my organization members then hiding under the stands; it was great! I also got to play with FOTO’s THON child, Luke!
1. I slept from 6 p.m. Sunday until 9 a.m. Monday, but didn’t get out of bed until 10:30.
2. It was really difficult. Everyone warned me how hard it was going to be, but I had faith in myself and thought I would be fine. But it was still really hard. My feet and legs were killer, but I didn’t really get sleepy tired. I knew THON weekend wouldn’t be easy, but my emotions were everywhere, early on too. That was definitely unexpected. Luckily, I had a fabulous moraler, Caleb, who really helped me stretch and keep moving. Plus my org, Axis, and countless amazing friends did everything they could to help me by dancing along with me from the stands and sending inspirational texts.
3. Its really not fair to have to pick just one favorite moment! The entire 46 hours were amazing. I really loved the human tunnel, it is a perfect way to get pumped up to dance for 46. Seeing how happy Axis’ Four Diamonds Family, the Ayrton Calvanelli family, was during the entire time they were there was also an extreme highlight. But since I have to pick one, my favorite moment was interacting with my org in the stands. I would wave my arms in the air until someone noticed, and waved back in sync. Then we would continue to copy each other’s dance moves. It was so much fun and really kept me moving so I didn’t get sore and it really lifted my spirits because I was constantly laughing. I don’t think I would have been able to make it without dancing with Axis.
1. I almost fell asleep mid-piggy back ride back to the car from the multisports complex, but I held it together. I collapsed in bed as soon as I returned to my apartment and slept from about 4:30 pm to 10:30 am the next day, about 18 hours. I was ready to go after that!
2. Physically, it was much easier than I thought it would be. I didn’t even start to get sore until the last 6 hours, and even then it was just a swollen ankle that didn’t cause too much of a problem. The hardest part was finding out that the pass system was down and that I wouldn’t be able to have that on-floor support I was expecting. I didn’t expect to have hallucinations, but at one point I imagined the yogurt at the snack shack was walking out of the refrigerator towards me, but I was okay with that. More than anything I didn’t expect how rewarding it would be. Best weekend of my life!
3. My favorite part of THON was seeing a little girl pass out homemade postcards that said, “Thank you for helping me get through my chemo this year.” There are a few moments that will stick with you for the rest of your life, and I’m positive that this will be one of those moments for me. This is why we THON, after all.
1. I slept for about 18 hours after. Definitely would have been longer if I didn’t have to go to work.
2. I think it was definitely harder than I expected. The pain was worse than I imagined it would be. But for someone who takes naps quite often, I wasn’t as tired as I thought I would be which was shocking.
3. Two moments stand out in my mind for this question. I know it’s a cliché to say that the last 4 hours were my favorite part of THON, but now that I’ve experienced it as a dancer, it couldn’t be truer. The one major struggle was finding ways to entertain yourself throughout the 46 hours and those last 4 hours flew by because I had something to occupy me the whole time. On top of that they were just the most meaningful hours of the entire weekend. Sure, that’s when I was in the most pain, but those hours reminded me why I was pushing through the pain. Besides that answer that many people would probably give; meeting our adopted Four Diamonds Family (The Ellen Smith family) was one of my favorite parts of the weekend. We had never met, but I happened recognize her (from pictures we had gotten through email) from afar in one of the back hallways and ran up to introduce ourselves. We didn’t think we’d actually be able to meet her just because of how hectic the weekend was getting, but fortunately enough we got the chance to talk to her a little bit. Even though it was only a short amount of time it was an awesome part of the weekend.
1. About 15 hours and took about a 3 hour nap Monday afternoon.
2. I think it was physically more difficult than I imagined, but less challenging mentally than I had predicted. I kept my emotions under control and my mind “with it” much better than I expected.
3. My favorite part was being able to spend the weekend with our THON family, the Tuckeys, and feel as though I became closer to them by experiencing THON together.
1. 18 hours of sleep the first night.
2. It was harder physically than I thought it would be. Having stood in the stands for countless hours in past years you don’t realize just how much it helps to take even a short break to sleep and get off your feet! I was prepared by my moraler for the delusional moments caused by lack of sleep.
3. My favorite part: standing with my THON families and dancer partners as the total was revealed! Everyone stands right back up for the reveal even though we all just stood for 46 hours! You can really see the heart behind THON.
Dickinson School of Law (first time they had dancers)
1. I slept 14.5 hours afterwards.
2. Dancing wasn’t actually as difficult as I imagined thanks to all the helpful advice I had received from my moraler and friends I know that had danced in the past. However, I did hit my only low moment of the weekend during the last few hours, which required me to push through until the end.
3. It was pretty awesome to be one of the first two people to represent the Dickinson School of Law in THON. Additionally, right after the start of THON weekend another organization member and myself got involved in an extremely intense squirt gun battle with two little brothers who were thoroughly enjoying soaking us and anyone caught in the crossfire. Another amazing experience came when a THON child wanted to play a game that I was playing with my moraler and then he quickly became attached to me. This led to him going up on my shoulders to dance to Sweet Caroline, to engage in some squirt gun fights, and tons of other fun events. He was having a blast and made my THON experience one I will never forget.
Blue in the FACE
1. I slept for exactly 12 hours. I went to bed around 6:45 p.m. then work up at 7:00 a.m. because I had to teach for my PDS Internship at the high school the next day.
2. It was surprisingly not as difficult as I thought it would be. There were moments when I was surprised how tired I was but also moments when I was surprised at how much energy I had. Through it all though, I KNEW I would make it out on top because of all of my friends and family and of course the kids rallying behind me.
3. When all of the dancer were singing “Your Love is My Love” to the people in the stands.
Penn State Thespians
1. I slept from 5:30 p.m. Sunday to 10:30 a.m. Monday for a total of 17 hours. It was definitely the best sleep I’ve ever had.
2. It was actually a little easier than I thought it would be. Yes my feet were painfully sore and my ankles were swollen by the end, but I was really only a “zombie” for a couple hours Sunday morning. I ended up pulling through and being completely fine for the final four hours. I owe that to my amazing organization, the Penn State Thespians, whose constant support kept me energized and strong.
3. My favorite part of THON was getting the opportunity to perform Where the Wild Things Are in the “No Grownups Allowed” Room with some of my best friends from Thespians. The Four Diamonds kids loved the show and afterwards, we got to play with them and take pictures. They were all so much fun and energetic, and it really felt like cancer didn’t exist at all in that room. The kids got the chance to just be kids. And in a way, so did we.
YMCA at Penn State
1. I fell asleep around 8 p.m. I was still too excited from the entire weekend, and especially the reveal, to fall sleep any earlier. I woke up at 9 a.m., went to breakfast, I’m currently in class and I’m going to the gym afterwards. I actually feel perfectly fine. I went to sleep with swollen legs and a pounding headache but when I woke up, the pain was gone. I lost my voice and still can’t talk, but that’s the only symptom that remains.
2. I never wanted to quit. My feet were sore and I was tired sometimes but when I ate, I felt better. This was motivating because children with cancer sometimes can’t even keep food down. There is no easy fix for cancer so I just thought about things like that and remembered that the reason that I was there was to help spread awareness and raise money for the Four Diamonds Fund. The time flew by the fastest when I was playing with the children. They were all so happy and care-free for one weekend out of the year and I had to keep those positive vibes going for them.
3. It was the icing on the cake to see that we raised $13.3 million for the kids! My dancing partner, Ciara, and I were screaming, dancing, and crying because that is an INSANE number. It’s great to see everybody at a school come together for a common cause. All of the worries on the world went away for that moment in time because the only thing anyone–dancers, committee members, families, people all over the world watching online, and especially the Four Diamonds children–cared about was the number that showed up on those posters.
Men’s Club Lacrosse
1. I slept around 14 hours.
2. Dancing was not nearly as hard as I thought it was going to be. Actually, sleep wasn’t as big of a factor as I actually thought it was going to be either. It didn’t hit me until the last few hours that I was tired.
3. My favorite part was playing with all the kids, ones who I didn’t even know. Everyone was so happy and friendly it was a lot of fun being able to act like a kid for the weekend.
1. 18 hours of solid sleep from 5pm to 11am.
2. Honestly, dancing was not as hard as I thought it might be. Of course I got sore and tired, but some stretching took care of the pain and having the support of so many people filled me with energy.
3. My favorite part of THON was spending time with our THON families. Playing games and learning more of their stories was really meaningful.
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About the Author
After losing my father to cancer, I thought there was nothing THON could offer me that I didn’t already know. After four years, I found comfort in the familiar.
If you waited until the last minute to plan your State Patty’s daylong outfit, we have your back.
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