On Feb 16, all Penn State campuses will join together in the Bryce Jordan Center at University Park for one of the largest annual events held at Penn State.
THON is a student-run philanthropy that raises money annually for pediatric cancer. Each year in February, THON holds a 46 hour dance celebration to commemorate all the money that has been raised by Penn State for childhood cancer. It is also a time to celebrate with children who are currently undergoing cancer treatments or children who have gone through cancer treatments in the past.
Throughout the entire 46 hours no one sits or sleeps and various entertainment is provided for all those who attend. The event includes activities such as a fashion show, a talent show, live band performances, sports teams perform dance routines, and it all helps support a good cause.
“The meaning behind it is kids go through so much with chemo and radiation and treatment and physically going through the battle of cancer” dancer Liv Sherer said, “so for us to stand for 46 hours is to somewhat say thank you to them for going through their struggles.”
Katherine Klimchock, Kendra Pysher, Kyle Bixby, and Megan Greer join Sherer as the five students chosen to represent the Penn State Altoona campus as official 2018 THON dancers. All five students have already begun preparation to be ready to stay up for the full 46 hours.
Each dancer is encouraged by the THON committee to go to gym everyday, cut caffeine out of their diet and to eat healthy meals. One of the most crucial rules to follow its to maintain a regular sleep schedule and get 8 hours of sleep each night up until THON weekend.
“Since doing it i’m not tired anymore I don’t have to take naps, I get so much more done. I feel so much more energized so even after THON I want to keep this up… it’s impacted me so positively”, Greer said.
The process of selecting these five dancers began back in December when applications went out to each student involved in THON. The applications were reviewed in January by a committee and then only a handful of student were chosen for the interview round. After the interview round the committee took into account how each applicant’s interview went along with how much they had been involved with THON throughout the year. From that the five dancers were chosen.
“I wanted to become a dancer because I wanted to represent Altoona benefiting THON in a positive way and show all the hard work that we’ve done all year”, Klimchock said.
As to how they will stay motivated throughout the 46 hours Bixby said, “there’s going to be THON families and THON children there and i’m going to see them and their family members and i’m just going to know that they went through a lot and if they went through a lot then I can get through this and it’s just going to motivate me to finish the weekend.”
“I think about it like our pains going to be temporary at that time but those kids go through so much” Pysher added, “their pain isn’t temporary it goes on for a long time” .
Last year Penn State helped raise $10,045,478.44 for THON according to News.psu.edu and up until November Penn State had raised around 292,877.11 and counting this year. The final total reveal will be presented during the last four hours of THON on Feb 17.
Each dancer (Katherine Klimchock, Kendra Pysher, Kyle Bixby, Liv Sherer, and Megan Greer) has their own donation page in which all money raised will go towards THON and the fight against childhood cancer.