THON 2020: More Than Just a Weekend

Photo courtesy of Zachary Canimore via THON

Penn State’s 2020 THON weekend has come to a close. Over 700 dancers went 46 hours without sitting or sleeping and thousands of others were alongside them supporting the cause. This year, Penn State’s THON, the largest student-run philanthropy in the world, raised $11,696,942 in total. That is a whopping $1.075 million more than last year’s total, and all funds are donated to pediatric cancer research and families of patients.  

After a solid 42 hours, the final stretch of THON arrived. Despite the dancers who had been standing, sleepless, for 2,520 minutes, each individual looked bright-eyed and ready to face the remaining 240 minutes. The last hours of THON hold great importance for everyone. When the clock finally hits 4 p.m. on Sunday, dancers sit and celebrate the millions of dollars raised to fight childhood cancer — but THON’s impact doesn’t end with the weekend. Each individual who participates in THON carries the feelings of hope, drive and love for days, weeks, months and years to come.

Freshman Madisyn Baxter told VALLEY how THON has influenced not only her weekend, but her future as well:

“I am going to school to become a pediatric oncologist. When people ask me why I want to enter one of the saddest, frustrating parts of the medical field, I simply tell them because of what THON has taught me. The strength and bravery of kids battling cancer amazes and encourages me to join them in their battle. With all of the struggles that come with my practice, there is even more hope and love to compensate. Being able to tell a child and their loved ones that they have overcome one of the biggest battles of their life, cancer, is what makes it worth it. When it comes to losing a child to cancer, it is too devastating to put into words. It is absolutely the hardest part of the field, but it only pushes doctors, and all those who THON, to work harder to find a cure; so no family has to lose a child to cancer, ever again. I THON for the kids with contagious smiles, so that one day we don’t have to fight, and we can celebrate.”

Photo posted by @MadisynBaxter8 on Instagram

There is a reason that THON is one of the most anticipated weekends of the year here in Happy Valley. Whether you participated through a committee, a Greek life organization, or independently, every participant is filled with enthusiasm, determination, and passion for the total 46 hours.

VALLEY reached out to Go Go Gadjet, a band that has performed at THON for 12 consecutive years, to find out why they join Penn State at the BJC year after year.

“We’re so happy that we can continue to add a small piece to this huge event. Honestly, we have the easy part. The dancers, families, and everyone involved inspire us. We feel lucky that we have been able to witness this life-changing event for so many years.”

Photo posted by @gogogadjetband on Instagram


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