THON 2020: Why Dancers Dance

THON is well underway, and as dancers push themselves through the 46-hour marathon, why they decided to take on such a challenge might cross spectators’ minds.

Last week, we asked dancers to tell us about why they were dancing in THON. Here are a few of the responses we received.

Liz Cooney, Gamma Sigma Sigma

Why are you dancing in THON?
I am excited to dance in THON to represent our families. In my time in THON organization Gamma Sigma Sigma, I have been lucky enough to get to know the Taffels, the McClures, the Shovers and the Adamski families. I dance for more birthdays,  I dance for more smiles, and I dance so no other family has to hear the words “Your child has cancer.” I also dance for my grandfather, who was diagnosed with colon cancer a couple years ago. While his treatment was successful, this THON will mark two years since his death, so he will be on my mind through the weekend. Gamma Sigma Sigma has been a cornerstone of my Penn State experience and I can’t wait to have the opportunity to represent this awesome sorority and our amazing families.

What are you most excited for about THON?
Besides interacting with families (which is my number one excitement!), I am excited to have this shared experience with other Penn State students. I am very lucky to have some of my closest friends on the floor with me all 46 hours! I can’t wait to make these memories with them!

Rose McDaid, Independent Dancer Couple

Why are you dancing in THON?
I’m dancing in THON for all of the past, present, and future children who battle pediatric cancer.

What does dancing in THON mean to you?
Dancing in THON means so much more to me than just dancing. To me, THON is a representation of hope. Children come to THON every year to escape the life that cancer has taken over. This weekend is their light. Being a part of their light in any way is my drive for being involved in THON.

What are you most excited for about THON?
I’m most excited to meet the THON family that adopted my IDC pair and me. Since we are not in an org we don’t have a family paired with us the whole year, but we had the option to apply to be paired with one for THON weekend. I was so happy when we got an email saying that we were paired with a family. I can’t wait to meet them.

Katie Swanson, Independent Dancer Couple

Why are you dancing in THON?
To support children and families affected by childhood cancer and to raise money so that one day we can dance in celebration! I am dancing so every child is able to have an easy, care-free, and healthy childhood.

What does dancing in THON mean to you?
To me, dancing in THON represents brighter futures and better days for our Four Diamonds children and families!

What are you most excited for about THON?
Seeing all of the kids and families on the floor!!

Miranda Hillyard, Berks Benefiting THON

Why are you dancing in THON?
For the kids to have a future without any worries. The smiles, the laughs and the memories that these kids can have.

What does dancing in THON mean to you?
Dancing in THON means the world to me. Getting the opportunity to spend the 46 hours with the families and the kids. This is what I have been waiting for all year long.

What are you most excited for about THON?
All of it!

Brooke Schaffer, Silver Wings

Why are you dancing in THON?
Over the years, I have become close with so many THON families. They have told me stories on how their kids have missed holidays, birthdays, special events, and some who couldn’t even walk at times during and after treatment. I am dancing for all of these families, so we can get one step closer to a cure, and these kids can have their childhoods back. I want to represent these families, and show them that we won’t stop until there’s a cure.

What does dancing in THON mean to you?
Dancing is truly for the kids. THON provides a time and place that creates a feeling of togetherness, to give the kids and their families a time to forget about their diagnosis and just have fun, like they should be. Dancers are there the entire weekend for the families. I am thankful to have the opportunity to help make a difference; however, I wouldn’t be there if it wasn’t for these amazing families. The kids fighting cancer, those are the true superheroes of the weekend.

What are you most excited for about THON?
This is my ninth THON, and last one as a student, that I will be attending, so I am excited to finally stay for all 46 and experience every second fully of the weekend.

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About the Author

Mackenzie Cullen

Sadly, Mackenzie graduated from Penn State in 2022. She majored in English and served as one of Onward State's associate editors. You can keep up with her life and send compliments to @MackenzieC__ on Twitter.

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