2018 THON Experiences In The Eyes of Two Penn State Altoona Students

This year Penn State’s THON raised $10,151,663.93 to help fight against childhood cancer, beating last year’s number of $10,045,478.44.

Penn State Altoona Students, Charles English and Angela Azevedo experienced the full 46 hour dance marathon at the Bryce Jordan Center Feb 16-18.

Azevedo described the experience as “very draining” but also said “it’s the best experience, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I would definitely stand 46 hours again.”

Over 700 dancers attended this years THON on the BJC floor and hundreds more spectators attended in the stands.

Azevedo mentioned how a downside of being limited to a spectator is having to deal with the temptation of sitting. If you’re not on the floor or walking around the concession stands the event staff tries to keep the stair aisles clear. This causes flooding of people in the rows of seats. Azevedo mentioned there’s not much room to dance or move but if you end up sitting it can cause problems.

“I would think that it’s harder even with sitting because the pain makes you stay awake. Without the pain you’ll fall asleep” Azevedo said.

The most difficult part of THON for English was that security only allows each person to bring one drawstring bag into the BJC. To help that problem English said he “brought several pairs of clothes… some I wore on then I took them off as soon as I got to THON” to save room in his bag. English recommends “whenever you feel tired go change” to get the feeling of being refreshed.

The most common problem throughout THON with spectators and dancers is fatigue and swollen ankles so Azevedo and English recommend a few items to bring with you to help you last the full 46 hours.

Recommendations include to:

  • Drink water and then gatorade to boost your electrolytes
  • Bring vitamins to boost your energy when you get too tired
  • Always stay moving (even swaying back and forth will help)
  • Bring a tennis ball to massage your feet
  • Bring a different pair of shoes to change in and out of
  • Bring a portable charger so you can keep taking pictures and videos
  • Bring soap, deodorant, your toothbrush, and baby wipes to wash up in the bathroom
  • Change the time on your watch or phone so you don’t actually know what time it is (this will make it easier to keep going)
  • If you leave THON at any point come about four hours early to get back into the BJC since the lines are long and their is a maximum capacity limit.

Besides bringing items to THON to help you stay awake English mentioned one key to surviving the 46 hours is the energy of the arena.

“What keeps you wanting to go is the people around… everyone’s here for one cause and one purpose. Everyone’s here for the kids” English said.

“At the moment people sometimes forget about the cause because they are in so much pain. They want to just sit down, they want to forget about it, they just want to go home, they don’t care”, Azevedo said. “But once those final four (hours) hit no one regrets it… you can’t even describe it unless your there … in the end it’s just happiness.”

To donate to THON 2019 you can visit Thon.org and help fight against childhood cancer.

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