In one week, the Bryce Jordan Center in State College will be filled with music, celebration, laughter, tears, joy, and hope as more than 700 Penn State students get on their feet for THON 2020, Feb. 21-23.
Four students from Penn State Altoona were chosen as dancers for the 46-hour no-sitting, no-sleeping event. THON is the culmination of a year-long fundraising effort for Four Diamonds, an organization that helps provide care and medical coverage for children with cancer.
These dancers are beyond excited to hit the floor and feel honored to do their part to help end pediatric cancer.
(L-R) Caitlin Travis, Rogen Shaffer, Baylee Hawk, and Maddisen Cook
York, PA | Sophomore
I had a close friend back home who battled cancer. She was a Four Diamonds child, so seeing first-hand how much Four Diamonds helps families financially and emotionally gave me a passion for the organization. I then made it a goal to dance for THON one day to honor those who have fought, and are still fighting, cancer.
I was extremely surprised, and it seemed too good to be true. I was a little emotional because I thought about my friend and how proud she would have been of me.
I have been preparing by exercising, eating right, having a proper sleep schedule, and cutting out caffeine.
Penn State Altoona has been a great support, especially our organization on campus, Altoona Benefiting THON. Members are just as excited as us dancers and have done so much to help get us prepared for the weekend.
I expect THON to be nothing less than amazing. I think it will be very emotional at times but also exciting and pure. I expect to make some great relationships with other dancers and Four Diamonds families who share the same passion I do.
I am so proud and extremely honored to be a part of THON 2020!
Dornsife, PA | Sophomore
Elementary Education major, Special Education minor
I attended THON last year and from that point on, I wanted to put forth all my effort toward being a dancer. I have a friend who danced two years ago who was also a big influence on why I wanted to dance this year. I love kids, and I am more than excited to spend time with them down on the floor!
I literally jumped up and down and nearly cried tears of happiness. I was, and am still, so excited to have this once in a lifetime opportunity.
I have been going to the gym several times a week, watching what I am eating and drinking, and making sure I get at least eight hours of sleep per night. I stopped drinking Mountain Dew when we hit the new year. I am now stretching every day to make sure my muscles are ready to stand for 46 hours straight.
I have had awesome support from my advisors, the Center for Student and Civic Engagement, the Student Affairs office, and the Residence Life office. My friends have been great, and I am thankful I will be standing beside most of them at THON!
My expectations are to have a weekend full of fun activities with the kids.
I can’t really put into words how proud I am to be part of THON. I am so thankful I have this opportunity. I am so ready to take on 46 hours of no sleeping and no sitting, all for the kids!
Dornsife, PA | Sophomore
Animal Science Business major, poultry science and history minors
Last year as a freshman, I was a general member of Altoona Benefiting THON. I also attended THON weekend, and it was such an eye-opening experience. It made me decide to apply to be a captain for this year, and with all the time and effort I put into the organization, I figured it was worth a shot to apply to dance.
When I found out that I was chosen to dance, I was ecstatic. I was even more excited that I was selected to dance alongside some of my best friends.
I have always been someone to attend the gym regularly, but when I found out I was selected as a dancer, I had to change my routine up a bit. Normally, I do strength training to gain muscle, but now I do more conditioning workouts. I also changed my diet. Now I am cutting carbs and sugar and eating more protein.
Penn State Altoona has been a tremendous support system for me. The Center for Student and Civic Engagement has been there for all of us dancers from the beginning. I also have an amazing group of friends that have been helping me train mentally and physically.
I am expecting to have a stress-free weekend and focus on the reason I am there—the kids. I cannot wait to spend 46 hours with some of the best people in the Penn State community.
Saying I’m proud to be a dancer is an understatement. To me, everyone who applied to dance deserved a spot. For the committee to choose me as a representative of Altoona Benefiting THON means so much. I am going to do everything in my power to represent ABT, the others in the organization, and the campus itself.
Mechanicsburg, PA | Sophomore
I wanted to dance in THON to represent Penn State Altoona as a whole and to show friends and family how important THON is.
I was incredibly happy when I found out!
I have been preparing by doing a cardio workout at least once a day and focusing on building muscle in my legs. I also have been trying to eat clean, stay hydrated, and get good sleep.
Penn State Altoona has been supporting me simply by giving me the opportunity to make such a difference. Many of my fellow students and Altoona Benefiting THON staff have been great, too.
My expectations are to have one of the best weekends of my life. I know that’s possible because just being in the stands last year was an amazing experience.
I am so incredibly proud to be a dancer that I can't even put it into words. Knowing I get to represent my organization and all of those who have put in so much hard work is rewarding.
THON is the largest student-run philanthropy in the world. The funds raised by THON are used by Four Diamonds to cover treatment costs for pediatric cancer patients as well as to support cancer research.
Donations can be made to Penn State Altoona Benefiting THON until Friday, Feb. 21 by visiting donate.thon.org and typing Altoona into the search bar.
Find out more about THON weekend at https://thon.org/thon-weekend/.