By: Connor Lenahan
Penn State is crazy. I mean this in the absolute nicest way possible. After all, if I were of different physical capability there would be an overwhelmingly good chance that I’d be a Nittany Lion as opposed to a Boston Terrier. I’ve never regretted my school decision, but I love Penn State almost as much as I love Boston. That’s why I love and adore their craziness.
I grew up watching a bunch of rabid football fans screaming their lungs out for every game regardless of opponent. Penn State is otherworldly this way. Every opponent is one they feel like they can defeat. That’s why I’m so mesmerized by THON.
THON, for those unfamiliar, is the Penn State Dance Marathon. THON is an annual event based around an amazing goal – raising as much money to fight Pediatric Cancer as possible. The money that Penn State raises yearly is donated to the Four Diamonds at Hershey Medical Center to pay for pediatric cancer treatments for families that cannot afford to pay. THON itself is a spectacle. Students pack into Penn State’s Bryce Jordan Center and participate in a 46 hour no sitting, no sleeping dance marathon.
A few thoughts here:
1. I can barely stand, let alone dance, for more than ten minutes without becoming exhausted. Even my now-legendary dance routine to “So Fresh, So Clean” by OutKast lasts only a few minutes before I have to sit down. The thought that students – let alone 15,000 – would do this for 46 hours is a marvel in and of itself.
2. Anything that demanding – again, no sitting whatsoever – deserves eternal credit and full support from everyone. No joke, everyone.
3. I wrote a few months back about raising money to fight cancer. No one should have to face cancer ever. But kids? That’s just about the saddest thing. Think about every little kid you know. That early bit of childhood should be spent running around, playing with friends, enjoying the world around them without a care in the world. I’ve said before that I would never want any little kid to have to deal with Osteogenesis Imperfecta like I did. While I didn’t have to deal with pediatric cancer personally, the thought is the same. Anything that gets behind trying to make this experience all but a distant memory is one I want to back.
Last year THON raised over $13 million for the kids. As is always the goal, they want to break that goal. My friend Matt Gronsky, a Penn State sophomore and loyal supporter of Unbreakable, is doing fundraising for the cause this year.
This is a perfect time to come together for the kids.