46 Hours And Counting: THON 2015 Kicks Off
In what is the culmination of an entire year of fundraising for the Four Diamonds Fund, dancers stood up in the Bryce Jordan Center on Friday night to officially kick off THON 2015. They won’t get another chance to sit on the arena floor until 4 p.m. on Sunday after 46 straight hours of dancing.
The THON Executive Committee headed to the front of the stage and counted down from 10 to the raucous start to the weekend of celebration.
The start was preceded by a couple hours of pre-THON activity to keep the resting dancers entertained after they entered the arena through a massive human tunnel shortly after 4 p.m. The entrance wasn’t all smooth, however, as the wristband-scanning system for organizations was quickly abandoned because it was too slow.
With a smoky haze from a slew of fog machines filling the inner bowl of the BJC, the stage was occupied by singers, ballet dancers, rappers, and tap-dancers. Four Diamonds Fund founder Charles Millard took the microphone for a quick speech before his 37th THON.
“I hope you have a tremendous outcome and I wish you well,” he said. “I’m glad to be here.”
The weekend will feature the usual schedule of events to keep the dancers energized through 46 sleep-deprived hours. Athletes will pump up the crowd in a pep rally, a slate of local bands will play sets all weekend long, and plenty of Four Diamonds children will show off their talents.
THON raised a record $13.3 million for pediatric cancer in 2014, which goes to support families that have patients at the Penn State Hershey Medical Center and cancer research in hopes of finding a cure. This year, 708 dancers representing hundreds of organizations aim to see an even higher number when the total amount is revealed on Sunday afternoon.
We THON in… well, now.