Fanny packs took over the Bryce Jordan Center this weekend and with that, another THON comes to a successful close. As dancers, orgs, committees and prospects tackled the final countdown, the last four hours were nothing but raw emotion.
Before diving into Family Hour, dancer relations captains from the past five years brought back their spunk and performed the line dance from their designated year. Charles Millard, co-founder of the Four Diamonds Fund then shared a few words with the crowd before officially kicking off Family Hour.
Three families shared their stories during Family Hour, the first family being the Michael Palm family. Michael’s dad shared his son’s story, who accompanied him on stage along with his mom and other family members. Michael’s words of wisdom to the crowd were, “Don’t stop when you’re tired, stop when you’re done.”
Following the Palm family was the Bekah Tuckey family. Bekah was accompanied on stage with her mom, dad, twin brothers, and members from her organization, HEAL (Help Every Angel Live). Bekah encouraged everyone today to be a better listener, be there for others, and have empathy for one another.
The “Where Are They Now” video was then played and showed all THON children from the past and what they have achieved up to now. Some with college degrees, others married with children … the inspiration from their milestones uplifting everyone in the BJC.
Bringing Family Hour full circle was the Emilia Dameshek family. Emilia’s light lives on inside her mom, dad and brother, and her presence was felt vicariously through them today. They spoke on her loving nature, her story of being diagnosed three times with cancer, and how she continued to fight her hardest until the end.
The “Celebration of Life” video was then played throughout the BJC, a place where not one dry eye could be found. “Angels Among Us” was performed and the BJC joined arm in arm, swaying … remembering.
Just before total reveal, a band named The Rockets literally rocked the house down with their renditions of “Living on a Prayer,” “Don’t Stop Believing,” “Jessie’s Girl” and other classic rock hits.
At 4:00 p.m. on the dot after 46 hours of standing, dancers were able to sit again. Then came the reveal of the top five fundraisers in each category: special interest orgs, Greek life, independent dancer couples, commonwealth campuses, and committee fundraising.
*insert drum roll here*
After countless hours of fundraising all year long, the moment we’d all been waiting for had arrived. The total raised for THON 2019 was $10,621,683.76, just surpassing last year’s total!! At the end of the day, the kids will always be our champions, our little lions … fighting until the day we dance because of a cure. Never stop dancing, Penn State.