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Dear THON: A Letter Of Encouragement

To all the colorful and crazy THON-goers in the BJC,

You are totally rockin’ this whole THON thing! Whether this is your first THON or your last, whether you’re dancing on the floor or cheering in the stands — regardless of your affiliation, it is nowhere near the beginning of THON anymore, and you are still here. You’ve sacrificed cell phone battery, spent more money than you wanted to on pricey BJC food, and you’ve managed to keep yourself entertained for hours on end.

THONPhoto: Jack Lukow/Onward State

We’re closing in on the end of THON, but we still have a decent chunk of time left. And it’s okay to admit it: You’re sore and you’re tired.

Physical pain and lack of sleep is a bit of a taboo topic at THON, and we aren’t supposed to directly address it, but it’s alright. You don’t have to pretend that you feel refreshed and rested. There may be plenty of tennis balls and baby powder in tow, but your feet still hurt, and even the hard plastic chairs — man, even the floors — look so tempting at this point. You’ve been standing for a long time, and you have more standing to do, and it isn’t going to be easy.

I’m not saying this to scare you, or make you feel worse, or put more pressure on you — I’m telling you this because I know you’re strong enough to take it, and I know you’re going to make it through.

Cheesy pep talks aren’t really my scene, and I don’t want to give you any false impressions of an easy remainder of THON. But I do know that if anyone can finish this just like we started it — with enthusiasm, and energy, and infectious inspiration — it’s us.

It’s all of us: The dancers on the floor, the supporters in the stands, the donors around the world, and finally the Four Diamonds families that tie everyone and everything together. In a way, these four facets of THON comprise the Four Diamonds, and we are all a part of something much greater than ourselves.

THON14 FloorPhoto: Bobby Chen/Onward State

When you’re starting to feel like you can’t do it any more, try to find a Four Diamonds child on the floor, or a family somewhere in the stands. Give yourself an immediate perspective, remind yourself why we do all of this — because it isn’t for the university-wide dance party, it isn’t for the cute neon outfits, and it certainly isn’t for resume improvement.

We are here, tired, sore, emotional, and drained, because we are attempting to feel only a small fragment of the physical distress that these children courageously manage on a day to day basis. Don’t forget — they are the reason that this entire event and philanthropic effort exists in the first place.

Let this be the thought that carries you through: No matter how you may feel right now, you will make it through, and you will be better because of your experiences in this arena. Remember that not everyone can say that they will survive — that is a privilege that we share, and we have to cherish it, and have to fight for it to others may feel the same safety that we do.

THON 2013 Final HoursPhoto: Staff/Onward State

I have one request of you, as the minutes pass by all too quickly: Spend the rest of this THON weekend truly appreciating each moment. Take in every concert, witness each speech, and immerse yourself in Penn State’s true culture of family. You will never again experience this exact moment right now — so make the most of every single, tiny, indispensable moment of THON.

About the Author

Jessica Myers

Jess graduated in May 2015, with a Bachelor of Arts with honors in English, and with two minors in Latin and Art History. When she says she's "shippin' up to Boston," she's not just singing the song -- she's actually attending Northeastern University this fall to pursue her master's degree. You can follow her shenanigans at her site, http://www.jessicarmyers.com.

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