THON looked different this year but the meaning and purpose within the event remained as strong and special as ever. The final four, also known as family hour, takes place within the last four hours of the event. Those four hours are unarguably the most emotional and sentimental hours of THON.
The final four began this year with a collage of various families giving video introductions and quickly stating their excitement for THON each and every year. This was a lighter moment of the final four as everyone is quickly reminded of why we THON and the joy it brings to these families.
Next up was an introduction to Charlie Millard, founder of the Four Diamonds. As a child, Charlie was diagnosed with cancer and spent his time envisioning himself as a night in shining armor on the quest for the four diamonds being courage, honesty, wisdom and strength. Charles beat his cancer and grew up to make his fantasy a reality and inevitably began the Four Diamonds. This was an enlightening moment of the final four as people watched a childhood dream turn into such a wonderful reality. Not only was it warming to see a man who beat his childhood cancer and go on to create such an incredible thing like THON, but also motivational to see that we can really make our dreams come true.
The final four soon took a turn in tone as THON families presented their stories which of course were very saddening. The stories of children being diagnosed with cancer, and living to battle this horrible disease are the whole reason why we THON and raise money year long.
The “Where are They Now?” video was definitely an uplifting montage of all the THON children who beat their cancer and grew up living healthy and wonderful lives. This video was emotional in the sense where you can watch it and feel inspired and proud to see how long these individuals have been off treatment and what their goals in life are now. This is once again a wonderful reminder of why we THON.
Following the “Where are They Now?” video was a much sadder montage, the “Celebration of Life” video. This is a montage of all the THON children who unfortunately gained their wings and lost their fight against cancer. As we were able to watch so many children on this video dating all the way back to the 70’s up until this year we are once again reminded of why we THON.
Spirits are once again uplifted as the line dances through the years starting with 2016 were presented. This was a fun and entertaining way to change the mood and get people excited for the final hour or so of THON. Following the line dances was an awesome concert performance which performed one song per minute for the final 30 minutes. This was definitely entertaining and a great way to countdown to our grand total of money raised this year.
Finally, it was the end of THON and the point of the event that everyone looks forward to which is to see how much money we collectively raised this year. With that being said, we raised $10,638,078.62 all for the kids! This is such a chilling and amazing moment of THON every year and makes every moment of the event and fundraising worth it. We THON so that children can make their dreams a reality. We THON for the kids and it is such a wonderful thing that the final four reminds us of every single year.