Inspire Tomorrow’s Miracles: THON 2013

You’d think after my fifth year of attending an event, I wouldn’t still need a week to completely process it. But I do. That’s the magic of THON.

You’d think after spending months away from my THON 2012 co-captains-turned-family, we might be awkward and have little to talk about. Instead we put our arms around one another and cried on each others’ shoulders. That’s the magic of THON.

You’d think that over a week after seeing THON’s total revealed, in person, and after watching the recording of it over and over again in the days since, I’d stop getting choked up about it. But I don’t. That’s the magic of THON.

If you haven’t heard of Penn State’s Dance Marathon, more affectionately known as THON, I’ll try to spare you from what could be an hours long explanation of the hard work, dedication, commitment, and—you guessed it—magic that goes into the year-long fundraiser to financially and emotionally support children who have been diagnosed with cancer and their families. If you want to know more about THON, I highly recommend that you check out the amazing www.THON.org, or go here to watch my good friend and 2013 THON Overall Will Martin explain it to you a little more.

I will always be thankful that I got to be a part of this amazing organization, and this year I was thankful to get to go back and experience THON for the first time as an alumni. I brought my camera along, thinking that I’d have more time to document THON in photos this year, since I wasn’t actively involved in actually putting on the event. I kind of thought wrong. I still wanted to see everything through my own eyes and take it all in with every sense I have, which means the photos that I did grab are few and far between, and only give a small look into the actual weekend. But I’m more than ok with missing a few great photos if it means that I’m living more and more in the moment.

The stage and 2013 THON logo: Thousands of college kids, standing for 46 hours to fight pediatric cancer.

At the end of every THON weekend, the total amount raised for the entire year is revealed. It’s one of the most exciting moments of the weekend, and just behind seeing a 22-year old college student giving a shoulder ride to a 6-year old diagnosed with the ugly disease of cancer, is one of the most moving sights that you’ll find in the BJC on THON weekend…

I realize that you probably can’t hear the total over my shrill screaming or see it because of my jumping excitement, but it was $12,347,034.46. I’m still in awe. That’s 12.3 million reasons to smile. All for the kids.

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