The Return of the Blue/White Roundtable
August 30, 2011 – | No Comment

It’s an institution of the Penn State blogosphere, and sure enough, it’s back for the 2011 season. That’s right, what we’ve got here is a genuine, bona-fide, electrified Blue/White Roundtable. There might be fewer seats, …

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For THON I Dance

Submitted by on February 22, 2011No Comment

The following is written by quebecpenspinning’s very own THON correspondent

THON has come and gone like it has for the past 37 years, but this year truly set itself apart from any other year since THON began in 1973. When The Penn State Dance marathon was created, it provided an opportunity for fraternities to band together to help a worthy cause within the community. At the same time it was a way for the Greek system to improve their diminishing image on campus. No one ever imagined that one day, THON would turn into the amazing event that it has become.

I was a part of THON when it was in Rec Hall. I was a part of THON when 4 million dollars was a milestone. I was a part of THON when we were just moving to the BJC. I saw THON grow out of Rec hall and moved to the BJC. Now, THON has grown well beyond what I could have ever imaged. We used to talk about a day when we would break 6 million and 7 million. Now we are on the verge of breaking 10 million dollars! This year, everyone involved with THON truly took it to a new level Together, Without Limits.

THON season begins every year soon after the fall semester starts. Even as some students are still busy with finding their way around campus, while others are camped out for the first home football game, there are those who are already polishing up their captains application. Soon all the captains and committees are chosen and THON hits the road running. Next thing you know, PSU football is undefeated and the fundraising season begins. Fundraising season is when we start the hard work of raising every single one of those 9 million dollars. Every year we start with zero and we work for five months to raise as much money as we can before the dancers take the BJC floor. Every one of the 15,000 students involved does everything they can to raise as much as they can for the kids. Some of the money come from corporate donors, some from the THON store, but most are collected from individual donations. It’s tough to find a better example for the saying “every penny counts.” It is even more amazing that over 92% of the money raised goes directly to the Four Diamonds Fund. Transparency is key when you deal with a grassroots charitable movement like THON.

Image taken by Patti Hamman
And though we are excited for every dollar that is raised, THON means so much more than just the money. It is hard to believe, but when I started college I did not know what THON was. A friend of mine introduced me to THON, but I had never seen the event itself. THON 2004 was my first THON experience. I was not on a committee, all I did was ‘can’ and fund raise, but as soon as I stepped in to Rec Hall, I found my calling. I spent every waking hour at THON. I learned the line dance, watched the pep rally, and cried like a baby during family hour. I did not know any of the families or dancers, but I knew I had to be a part of this. As soon as THON 2004 ended, I was determined to involve myself the following year. A decision that changed my life when I was selected to be the THON chair of my organization in 2005. I went to the Hershey medical center to tour and meet some of the affected families and for the first time, I saw why we dance. I canned my butt of that year and I had the honor of dancing in 2005. Dancing for 48 hours was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I have never felt so much pain and love in one weekend.

And being a part of it only inspired me to do even more for THON. I was even lucky enough to be one of 17 Morale Captains for THON 2006 the final year the event would grace the floor at Rec Hall. Being an MC showed me a side of THON that few people will ever see including the ability to meet the families who I still keep in touch with today. During family carnival, I met a young girl who was in the midst of the harshest portion of her treatment. Before cancer consumed her life, she was a soccer player, an interest I could relate to having played the sport throughout high school. I began playing with her brother before they left the carnival and I noticed that she had a soccer ball shaped cookie on her lap. I asked if she liked soccer and she nodded her head yes. And as her father picker her up out of her wheel chair as they were about to leave I told her, “when you are all better, I will come to Hershey and play soccer with you.” I shall never forget her reaction. She cracked the biggest smile she could muster, but it was a smile that tore my heart in half. Somehow in the midst of all that physical pain, something as simple as the promise of playing soccer again brought her joy.

The year went on and I was busy getting everything ready for THON. And as I was running around like a maniac at THON, as Morale Captains do, I heard someone yell my name. I looked around, but I did not see anyone I recognized. That was, until a few seconds later when the same frail girl I had met earlier in the year at the family carnival ran up and gave me a huge hug. Not only was she walking, she was running, dancing, and playing, all the while sporting a smile like she never knew she had cancer. The improvement I saw in 3 months was nothing compared to what I saw over the next 4 years. I still keep in touch with her and she is now 4 years in remission. I saw first hand what all of our hard work goes to. We work all year so that these children and families can minimalize the effect cancer and the treatment thereof has on their daily lives. The battle against cancer may be some of the toughest times a family has to endure but because of THON, these families have access to the best care, research and support that any hospital can offer. The Four Diamonds Fund essentially covers anything that the families’ insurance does not, lessening an already momentous burden on an affected family. The Four Diamonds Fun take the financial burden of cancer away from these families allowing them to fully concentrate on treatment and recovery. Pediatric cancer treatment has given children a better chance of survival than ever before.

Ultimately everyone will have their own motivation for dancing, but when it come down to it, we dance FOR THE KIDS. Together, we will conquer cancer.

Congratulation THON 2011 for beating last year’s record amount by a whopping $1,724,961.73!!!! A feat we could only dream of when I was involved as a dancer. I can only imagine the limitless possibilities in the years to come and the additional number of lives that will be changed by simple grassroots generosity. Together, Without Limits the future is surely bright.

For more information or to donate, please visit www.THON.org.

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