Tuesday, February 21, 2012

THON Sunday

Sunday is the biggest day for THON. The last four hours are very emotional for everyone in attendance, and the total of months of efforts is announced. Since THON has moved to the Bryce Jordan Center, the building has reached capacity and visitors are turned away from being part of the fun. I didn't want to risk not being able to have access to the floor, so headed to the BJC by 8:30 on Sunday. As I walked up to the building I heard an announcement that the BJC had reached capacity and that visitors could form a line to get into the building outside of the one gate. Luckily they were still allowing media in and I made me way to the floor.

I got there as they started to set up for the last slide of strength of the weekend. The operations committee rolls out a large mat, that they cover in baby powder and the dancers slide down to get 10 seconds off their feet, and a quick massage by committee members.

As the morning rolled on it was time for the Kids Variety Show. Twice throughout the weekend Four Diamonds children have the opportunity to perform on stage and show off their skills, from dancing and singing, to monologues, and jokes. This Four Diamonds child, Tucker, is an annual star of the variety show, and this year broke it down to LMFAO's "Party Rock Anthem."

The Paterno family has always been a huge supporter of THON. In 2009, Joe spoke on stage, saying "I wish the whole world could see and feel what's in this room right now." When Joe passed away last month the family asked in lieu of flowers to donate to the Special Olympics, or to THON. Joe's son, Jay, visited THON on Sunday afternoon to remark about how special the event was and though he didn't use his fathers words exactly, emphasized how he wished the whole world could see what Penn Staters were doing to help others.

A dancer is embraced by her father as he visits her on the floor with several hours to go.

The morale captains from the last 5 years perform their respective years line dance on stage. As I photographed I couldn't help but sing along to the 4 years that I was involved.

THON overall captains tearfully watch a video that features where Four Diamond children who are cancer free are today.

Family hour is the most emotional part of the weekend. All the families in attendance are introduced, and some are given the opportunity to share their story.

During family hour the capacity filled BJC emotionally watched a video tribute to all those Four Diamond children who lost their battle with cancer in the last year.

After wiping away the tears and remembering those who were lost, the band Go Go Gadget took the stage to get the crowds spirits high again as they power into the final two hours.

Morale captains take the stage to perform the second to last line dance of the weekend.

Dancers laugh as they celebrate being able to sit down after the 46 hours.

The THON overall captains jump in excitement as they announce the total raised for 2012, $10,686,924.83.

The entire BJC holds their diamonds to the sky in celebration of the record breaking total raised at this years THON.

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