Why We Dance: The Story of THON

Uploaded by wpsu on 27.09.2012


♪ Music ♪
[ applause ]
>> Every February it happens,
the culmination of a
year-round effort to raise
money and awareness
for children with cancer.
>> Thank You.
Have a nice day.
>> The Penn State Dance Marathon,
known as THON,
works tirelessly for 12 months
all in the support of
The Four Diamonds Fund
whose goal is to provide
emotional and financial support
to families touched by childhood cancer.
Every February there's a party,
a celebration of life.
>> Three, two, one!
[ cheering ]
>> For 46 hours Penn State
students stay on their feet
while standing up
for the kids.
Since 1977 the missions for THON
and The Four Diamonds Fund
have been the same:
to eradicate childhood cancer.
♪ Music ♪
[ cheering ]
Every February it starts
all over again.
This is Why We Dance.
>> Support for this program provided by
Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital
Additional funding provided by
The Penn State Alumni Association
and Penn State Bookstore
and by Viewers Like You. Thank You.
>> I make it like home.
We bring his blanket, his pillow, pictures,
he likes to have the kids' pictures
and there's a picture of all of us.
So we just bring it all instead of being in the hospital
and feeling--feeling like a hospital,
it's a little bit of home.
>> He's an intelligent boy that he knows what cancer is
and he also knows that there's people who've beaten cancer.
And when he did get the diagnosis
and when we did explain to him what he has,
he knew that it's something that he had to fight for.
And something that he's going to fight against.
And then again on the other side
being a 12-year-old boy, it was like,
"You know, this sucks, you know,
I'm not being able to do what I want to do
because of this silly disease."
>> It started last November.
He just started complaining about his left leg hurting.
>> Then that day when I was at work.
>> It was January 30th.
It was a Sunday.
He just came to me and said that he, you know,
couldn't stand, it hurt to stand.
So I took him to the ER that afternoon.
>> And then we found out on February 7th
that I was diagnosed with parosteal osteosarcoma.
>> When she said he might have a tumor in his leg,
I kind of had that punch in the stomach feeling.
That day was just not a very good day.
A lot of thoughts were going through my mind.
I mean, what are we going to do?
Am I going to lose my son?
>> The way I felt it was now we know what it is.
Let's, you know, get going and start treating it.
>> There probably is some evidence of, you know,
some bony union occurring here.
>> When we went to the first appointment
we were assigned a social worker from the Four Diamonds
which I thank God that was available to us.
>> We meet with the family
and first discuss Four Diamonds.
And we talk about how the basic goal of the Four Diamonds
was to assist families, to not think about medical bills,
just to think about their child and their family.
>> Where do you usually have pain if you have pain?
>> The Four Diamonds Fund offers financial support
for every child being treated for cancer
at Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital.
>> Whatever their insurance doesn't cover
the Four Diamonds will cover.
And so the relief on their faces, it's amazing.
It really is.
>> And one of the incredible things is
the process is so streamlined.
We never even saw bills in the mail.
It's not like we would get bills and then we'd have to,
you know mail them to someone else to pay for them.
>> Or call and deal with the insurance company.
>> It's seamless.
It all just gets handled
and you don't even have to give it a second thought.
You know someone is on top of it
taking care of it for you.
>> In about 48 hours we went from
having a healthy 7-year-old to a child
where doctors told us you need to make memories now
'cause she's probably not going to go very long.
Insurance covered most of her stuff
but later on in her treatment,
when they did experimental stuff
with her that was not covered,
so Four Diamonds covered that.
I don't think if she would have lived 5 years--
>> No.
>> --without some of that treatment.
So Four Diamonds prolonged her life
and gave us more time with her
than we would have had ordinarily.
♪ Music ♪
>> Chris Millard was a young student
who back in the '70s unfortunately
was diagnosed with leukemia.
>> And six months before Chris died,
he was in 8th grade and the teacher's assignment
was to write an autobiography.
And he after class went up to her and said
"I'm not going to write an autobiography.
I've been sick for 2 years
and I've been in and out of hospitals.
I'm not going to write about that."
>> And so, in his wisdom he wrote his story
of the quest for the Four Diamonds
and each of the diamonds was a symbol
of an aspect of strength that he either was looking for--
for himself or that he had found in family members
and people around him. And his story,
I get choked up when I think about it.
His story has inspired so many people
and has allowed other people to find their wisdom,
their strength, their courage
and to move forward in their journey.
>> It's become sort of a legacy which I appreciate,
which we appreciate, my wife and I.
But it was not our intention to glorify
or to memorialize our son.
>> When everyone in that Bryce Jordan Center
holds up their hands as a diamond,
that's a sign to Christopher.
To thank him for everything that he did.
♪ Music ♪
>> People vastly underestimate how much coordination
is involved to do any of what we do
and it's just thousands of students working
all year long and learning all year long
and growing as leaders.
>> Less than a month after THON,
a brand new overall committee is selected.
Each overall then selects a group of captains
which in turn selects committee members.
There are about 320 captains
and 3,400 committee members.
When you add the students from
370 fundraising organizations,
the total comes to more than 15,000 volunteers
making it the largest student-run philanthropy
in the world.
>> This week is THONvelope distribution.
Basically organizations and captains and committees
can come in and pick up their THONvelopes
that they want to send out for the year.
Last week we sorted through all them.
We sorted through 500,000 THONvelopes
so that they're all in stacks,
so it's easily distributed for this week.
We use them to solicit donations from our families,
people we know from home.
>> THONvelopes coming back look like this.
They have the organization name and number
written on the back so when my committee members
open them they take out the donation inside
and credit that organization.
And then the check goes through the process
which is going on behind me now.
>> We really don't set a goal for ourselves.
It's really just to see how ever much money
we can raise.
And if we can raise 20 million, that's great.
If we can raise 2 million, that's great.
>> You put so much into really getting involved
in the Penn State community that is THON.
And now that we're actually doing something,
we're actually making money for kids with cancer,
it's surreal.
>> Here you go buddy. Penn State!.
>> Thank you, go state!.
>> Canning is when all the people involved in THON
go out and stand outside in intersections,
in front of businesses and stuff
stuff and raise money and ask for donations.
>> The guys from the recycling plant go to all of the
dining halls and they collect these dirty, nasty cans
all for us which is awesome.
So we come here and there is about
2,000 pretty gross cans waiting for us to clean them.
>> There's a good one!
That's an example of a good can.
>> The peeling can be--
>> The peeling is a little--
getting them out of the bags that have been
sealed for awhile, you know--
>> Some of them are, you know--
>> Tuna or a--
>> I say they get--they get progressively better
as you go down the line.
>> The rinsing's not as bad.
The dryers have got the golden job.
>> Currently, we have about 7,000 in storage.
Today, we're hoping to clean about 2,000
and then next week we should clean
another 2,000.
>> Thank you so much.
>> Thank you so much.
>> Have a great day.
>> You too. FTK!
♪ Music ♪
>> More than 7,000 students hit the streets
with those cans, collecting money
in 9 different states.
>> Thank you so much.
>> You're welcome guys.
>> Have a good day.
>> It's a simple way to raise money,
you collect spare change.
It gives anyone the opportunity to be involved.
>> You can help kids fight cancer today.
No one likes a loose change anyway.
It just slows your car down.
>> We're here in Erie, beautiful Erie,
we're canning for THON.
I'm a member of Club Croquet.
This is our second year of canning.
So we're hoping to like increase our total from last year
and keep it going, keep building up the club.
>> Woo!
>> Club Croquet started in the summer of 2010
with six freshmen guys wanting to make
an impact on Penn State.
>> We wanted something that's truly unique,
something that hasn't been done before.
So we decided croquet, why not?
You know, we're a bunch of classy guys.
>> Two, one, oh!
>> Well, you gotta go all out.
We encourage funny clothes as you can see.
Some of the guys aren't wearing sleeves,
hopefully that will give us money
with the lady drivers.
>> Oh I got you.
I got you with the dance moves, didn't I?
>> See, the great thing about THON is
it doesn't matter what organization you are.
Anybody can do anything for THON,
any organization from fraternities and sororities,
to club sports, to independent dancers raising money.
So that's one of the things I really like about it,
anybody can be involved.
>> We're just counting up today's totals.
We were out canning all day.
I got involved as a freshman
and immediately fell in love with it,
just the people that you're surrounded by,
the cause that you're involved in is just--
It's truly unbelievable and it's really kind of defined
my college experience at Penn State, you know.
It's definitely been the best thing
I've done through college.
>> Since 1978, THON has raised more than
88 million dollars for the Four Diamonds Fund.
Throughout the year, THON volunteers
are given a chance to see where that money goes.
>> On the tours you have an opportunity to meet
physicians and have an opportunity to meet
child life specialists and nurses and nutritionists
and music therapists, and the thing that strikes me
is that those wouldn't be there
without the Four Diamonds Fund.
>> Let me hear you
>> I really, really enjoy Penn State students
coming through for their tours.
It's wonderful to get the chance to share with them
where their effort is going to.
What I can hands-on provide to the children,
to their families because of the time and effort
that each of those students is putting forth.
>> Hello buddy!
Are you ready for some major music?
>> In terms of pain management,
if we're keeping the brain busy with the music,
it can't receive the pain signals
or the nausea signals as readily.
>> Oh, nice.
>> So there's physiological reasons,
there's emotional, psychosocial reasons,
all of those kind of come together as pieces of the puzzle
to giving a whole treatment for the child.
>> Part of every tour is also a visit to one
of our research laboratories and one of our
physician scientists will always speak to them about
what we're doing in the labs and how their money
is contributing to conquering childhood cancer.
>> A lot of human cell lines--
>> The focus is very much on the support
to the families but we more than cover
that at this point.
Now, we're making so many greater things happen
and we are a part of the cure for cancer.
>> How old was he when he was diagnosed?
>> 6 months.
>> He was only 6 months old. How old are you now?
>> 9.
>> You're 9.
>> Yeah, he's actually doing really well now.
He had fibrosarcoma in the chest.
>> Hey Matthew, We Are!--
>> Penn State! [Laughter]
>> Alright!
>> I always heard that this money was going towards
funding these different things that aren't available
for a lot of kids at different hospitals such as
the music therapist as well as the child life specialist
and different things like that.
But I never really knew what it meant until I got
to kind of hear that person come in
and talk about their story.
>> When we do get bogged down,
we have to sit down and think, you know,
why are we doing this?
And you think back to today and what we saw
and what kind of work they do and it just
makes it so easy to do.
>> Of course it was very hard on the other two siblings,
you know, Olivia and Keegan,
all your attention of course is going to go to the child
who needs all your loving care and attention because of
what the poor child is going through.
So it was hard keeping the family close-knit
and keeping the other two kids in the limelight too
even though their thoughts at all times
had to be what was going on with Bryce.
>> As much has this been a focus on Claire and her fight,
it's also about her brothers who have their own
journey in all of this.
>> And it's about making everyone feel special.
>> Yes.
>> Not just the kids that are in that fight together
but the army that surrounds them, their siblings,
their parents, their grandparents.
>> The Adopt-A-Family program allows student
organizations to participate in THON,
to be specifically connected to a Four Diamonds family
if the family is interested in having that connection.
There are hundreds of those connections all the time.
And so once they're paired, they just start doing
whatever it is that they can do.
A lot of our families host canning weekends
which is a great opportunity for our students to go spend
a weekend with their Four Diamonds family and raise money.
It hits both elements of the mission,
the emotional and financial support.
>> Hello!
>> Hey!
>> Hi!
>> All the guys are here!
>> It's a party from the minute they come through the door.
The kids can't wait for them to be here.
>> Our kids.
>> Our kids, yeah, well,
I'd like to think they can't wait either.
>> Oh!
>> It's a release, I think, for the Penn State students
because it's an opportunity for them to really
connect with us.
It's a release for us in the sense that we get to do
something for them which we don't--
which they don't usually let us do.
So--And it's a release for the kids because
Claire, Will, and Gabe now have 300 older
brothers and sisters at Penn State and--
>> Who they can look up to.
>> Who they can look up to.
>> One, two, three.
♪ Music ♪
>> Ohanas are in town.
>> We got to hang out with them at THON
and Ty really missed them.
So we invited them to come down and just have a
nice day, cook out, do some fun stuff.
>> Just because THON is one time a year doesn't mean that
these families don't need our love and support
throughout the entire year.
>> Me and my roommate, "G",
we got these two big water guns
'cause they definitely beat us during THON weekend.
They won that battle.
So we decided to bring some extra weapons.
So we brought it because--
oh, as you can see--
ahh! [Laughter]
>> I didn't want THON to be something that Max felt
was just for Charlie.
It was very clear when we got there,
that it wasn't--let's all pay attention to Charlie
and Max stands in the corner.
It was Max, here is your gun,
chase after me and shoot me.
And I just thought, this is exactly what I wanted
this experience to be for Max.
He has as much of a connection to these
students as Charlie does.
And that's how you can tell that they embrace
the whole family.
It's not just the child that is battling or has battled cancer.
It's the entire family.
>> And that was a perfect strike!
♪ Music ♪
>> Here we go.
>> Come on, run!
>> We like to have things throughout the year,
not just THON weekend because cancer doesn't stop
so we don't stop.
And it's a good way to always be there for them
and kind of give a distraction from everything else
that's going on in their lives.
>> Sometimes you feel that you are alone
and the reason why we're here so they know that
they're not alone in this fight.
>> Yeah, you make a left.
>> All right, cool.
>> We keep coming back to support Penn State.
If it weren't for them and the money that these
kids raise every year,
my kid may not be five years off treatment.
My kid may not be deemed cured if it weren't for
what these Penn State students do.
>> Oh!
>> Yeah!
>> Throw it! Throw it!
>> It's amazing coming here every year and you see
families that you've seen every year and you see
their kids doing well and thriving and growing and it's--
>> Growing up, yeah.
>> It's amazing. It's great.
>> Yeah.
>> It's a yearlong effort and we truly mean that.
Students are constantly taking trips to go down
to Hershey to see the families and support them.
>> I'm thinking the next one should be--
>> Tyler really looks forward to when the college kids come.
>> I'm kidding.
>> It's the first thing--like we check in at the front desk,
he runs back to the play room to see if they're here
because the Penn State kids they entertain him,
they do crafts with them or play games with them
and just kind of makes the time go little faster.
>> These appointments aren't just like
you come in, you come out.
It could be a multiple day thing.
>> Time to go over.
>> Our friend Tyler in there said he's going
to be here for the next few days and so
having us around to play with him,
keep him entertained, it takes a little break off
the parents and gives them something fun to do.
>> And it says a lot about the Penn State students
too I think, you know, how dedicated and caring they are
and wanting to really get to know the kids and the families.
It's a great experience for everybody, I think.
>> You won, you're sneaky.
I didn't--ah, so sneaky.
>> It's kind of cool like this is a kid that you're helping
when you're standing on the corner just like,
you know, kids like Tyler in there.
You just, you hang out with them and then
it makes you want to work even more
because it's like hopefully one day,
he'll be able to be healthy and then
nobody will have to come here at all.
♪ Music ♪
>> Inspired by the Penn State dance marathon,
mini-THONs started popping up around Pennsylvania in 1994.
High schools, middle schools, even elementary schools
put on their own dance marathons to collect money
for the Four Diamonds Fund.
[ Cheering ]
♪ Music ♪
>> Last year there were about 60 mini-THONs
throughout Pennsylvania raising about
1.3 million dollars.
This year there are 83 mini-THONs.
At the end of the day,
this is not a Penn State thing.
This is about children with cancer.
It's not a Hershey thing. It's not a Penn State thing.
It's not the THON. It's not Four Diamonds.
That's the difference that you want to make.
>> What's really great is we're fostering
this sort of Four Diamonds mindset in kids
as young as 4th grade which is amazing to us
as Penn State students to see these kids so enthusiastic
and really understanding what we're here about.
>> FTK!
[ Cheering ]

>> Our daughter passed away from cancer when
she was a student at this school
and that's why we wanted to start one here
at this school to honor her and another student
that was a 7th grader here that passed away.
>> I just think it's really important.
These kids knew Brandon and it's such a great
philanthropic thing for them to do which
I think it's really good to teach them now how to,
you know, care about other people other than themselves.
>> I want them to realize that they should be
fighting to cure cancer 'cause someday they'll
have kids and I don't want their kids to have cancer
and have them go through what we went through.
♪ Music ♪

>> All too often teenagers tend not to
think about other people.
They tend to think more of themselves
and this event is really one in which it really forces
them to look beyond their own individual world
and it really makes them more compassionate
and really better people in the end.
[ Cheering ]
>> To me, the greatest Penn State tradition
is Dance Marathon.
And to dance that is the pinnacle.
♪ Music ♪
>> Thousands of students compete to be one of 700
dancers who will stand for 46 hours.
Each organization involved in THON is
allocated a certain number of dancers
based on their fundraising efforts.
>> There is also the chance for students
to get involved, who may not be a part of
an organization by trying to independently dance.
>> All the independent dancer couples who are attempting
to dance for THON 2012 are coming here.
They're going to visit with finance first
where they'll verify their totals,
make sure everything is kind of like completely
up to date 'cause this really matters for them.
>> Did you get that 200 dollar online donation?
>> To become an independent dancer,
you have to be entered into a dancer lottery.
So for 2,600 dollars, you get your one ticket
in the lottery and then after that,
it's every 500 dollars gives you an additional ticket.
>> We're definitely nervous.
It's been to just such a long year
but we're hoping it pays off.
>> It's been really stressful. So,
I mean, I think the hard work is going to pay off.
>> It's been like building and building apprehension
and excitedness at the same time 'cause you're really
hoping that--'cause it is still just a lottery.
So we're actually, still just hoping.
I guess crossing our fingers that we get picked.
>> Hey Mom?
>> We ended out being $171 off of our next lottery ticket.
So I just ended up calling my parents and basically begging
them to [laughs] fill us in on that last little bit.
>> It's 171, yeah $171.
Yes! Thank you so much.
>> We have your total as 10,250 dollars and 31 cents.
>> Thank you.
>> Thank you.
>> Not many people can say they raised 10,000 dollars.
>> It's going to be nice now that we are able to
contribute so much and be like a part of it even though
if we weren't able to dance.
It'd be awesome to know just like that we're
able to help even a little bit.
[ Lion roar ]
>> ♪ Cancer, we'll fight it. Dancing united. ♪
♪ Penn State, break it down... ♪
>> Each year a group of morale captains
creates a new line dance.
This dance will be performed every hour
during THON weekend.
>> ♪ FTK, THON we'll cheer ♪
>> It's really amazing to know that you're creating
a dance that 15,000 people are going to be doing at once.
>> ♪ Thank you State for all you've done. FTK! ♪
>> A few days before THON, the new line dance is
performed in front of the morale committee members
for the first time.
>> The line dance really starts building up the excitement
of the weekend and it really creates a sense of bonding
among the THON community.
It's something that they all can share and they know
it's really exciting because they all get share with the
dancers who are not aware of it before THON weekend.
>> So lunge out to the right with your hands on your hips
>> The dance is obviously something fun for everyone to do
and it does have a lot of cool pop cultural references.
But the main purpose of it is to stretch the dancers
out all weekend 'cause towards the end,
you can kind of forget to stretch.
THON is so close, it's only a couple of days away,
so it's really a great way for everyone to come together
and learn something special that will be a hallmark
of THON 2012 for years to come.
>> ♪ Time to dance, for the kids, for a chance. ♪
♪ BJC lace up those kicks. THON is here for 46. ♪
♪ Music ♪
>> THON has had such a positive impact on me that I can't
imagine not having it there.
Like we've been in these positions now for almost a year.
Cause it's kind of hard to imagine my life not--
you know what I mean?
>> It's hard. It--It's--when you plan for something
for this long it's just--
it's hard to imagine it actually happening.
>> It's not real at all.
>> I'll wake up tomorrow and be like,
well, it's time to go.
♪ Music ♪
>> Here we come.
>> Hi guys.
>> Hey!
>> Hi!
>> Happy THON.
>> We're here. THON can start now.
>> The overall committee got here at 4:30.
We all went in together and then very shortly after
the rules and regs, captains, technology, OPP,
they all started coming in.
So right around 4:30 a.m. is when
the show starts for us.
>> THON uses every aspect and every room of
the Bryce Jordan Center.
♪ Music ♪
At the beginning of THON we use the truck ways,
obviously, to bring in our supplies but then they're
transformed into storage units where dancers can
bring their belongings.
♪ Music ♪
>> Right now they're setting up the stage,
all the lighting, the sound equipment is coming in
with entertainment.
OPP committee members are setting up the mats and
simultaneously blowing about 24 hundred balloons up.
♪ Music ♪
>> If you're on the event level floor,
and you leave the event level, there's a lot of things
you're going to see.
We have the auxiliary gym, the south annex
as we like to call it.
This is normally used for just practices by the
basketball team but we transform it
and use these two spaces.
We split the gym in half and half of it is used for storage
for our dancers.
But on the other side, the families,
that's the place where they can hangout.
They're served meals by hospitality, and then they
have a lot different events where maybe they might
hangout with athletes or prepare for big family event.
♪ Music ♪
The second level is the mezzanine
which is a little bit more quiet.
So in this area our captains, will be using
conference rooms as sleep shifts.
So our captains receive two, four hours sleep shifts
throughout the weekend.
And then this side is the family area.
This is a little bit more quiet where families can
go away from chaos of THON weekend.
♪ Music ♪
>> And then upstairs on the concourse level, we have
technology, doing all the radios and R&R
is getting setup with security.
♪ Music ♪
>> It's pretty cool 'cause I always think about as you
walk around the concourse.
You could to see like little glimpse through each portal
of THON weekend and you're just overwhelmed with the
amount of color, amount of people.
And it is just one of those "awe" moments
where you just can't help but not speak but look around
and just see the magic that is THON.
♪ Music ♪
[ Cheering ]
>> We've seen people lining up since
probably 8 a.m. this morning.
It's really important for everyone to get the best
spots so they can really support their dancers.
>> FTK! FTK!
>> Hopefully the kids will have a great time
and enjoy it just as much as we do.
♪ Music ♪
[ Cheering ]
>> Feeling nervous, anxious, excited. I don't know.
I've never done anything this physically demanding before.
So it's a little nerve-wracking.
♪ Music ♪
[ Cheering ]
>> When you see that kid shooting you with a squirt gun,
it's kind of like you can't sit down,
you're standing for them like it's...
>> They deal with so much more that the pains we're
going to suffer this weekend aren't even going
to matter, you know.
>> Yeah.
>> You got to keep going for them.
[ Cheering ]
>> Just so pumped up to be dancing.
And especially running through the human tunnel,
everything like that like it's already been overwhelming
so I'm just pumped up for a great weekend.
>> I think my face already hurts from smiling like,
you know, we're not even started yet.
>> Too much smiling.
>> It's crazy like I woke up this morning and I was like,
"Wow! All of our work and dedication, everything is--
it's going to payoff today."
>> Now Penn State, I have one question for you,
are you ready to take a stand against pediatric cancer?
Let's do this!
10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1!
♪ Music ♪
[ Cheering ]
♪ Music ♪
>> In 2006, Four Diamonds dad Hank Angus had an idea.
>> We came up with the idea of actually bringing letters
from Four Diamonds families to the dancers.
We wanted to connect the reason to the dance.
>> 24 hours before THON starts,
the Hope Express embarks on a 135-mile relay run
that goes from the Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital
all the way to State College.
>> To be a part of the Hope Express,
you have to be a THON alumni
or you have to be a Four Diamonds child
or part of Four Diamonds family.
>> As a Four Diamonds dad,
it gave me the opportunity to channel my hopes,
my fears for my son.
It's a great outlet.
[ Cheering ]
♪ Music ♪
>> I think it's supposed to be
11 o'clock-ish between midnight,
around that time will be my first 3 mile leg,
then I'll run another one around 4 in the morning
and then another one, hopefully,
assuming we do really well and there's no crazy weather,
hopefully, around noon the next day.
♪ Music ♪
[ Cheering ]
>> I'm so proud of you!
>> And so, the starting and stopping,
the up all night, the weather, the mountains.
When you factor all that in,
it's like no other race.
There's no way to train for this.
It's about heart.
And you can condition yourself
but it's about heart and that's what it boils down to
and all these people have heart.
♪ Music ♪
♪ Music ♪
>> This year THON is once again donating all of the
hair collected here today to Wigs For Kids.
This organization handcrafts each hair prostheses
made of about 150,000 strands of natural hair.
>> I decided to donate it 'cause I was playing
with a child on the floor last year and she
was playing with my hair and talking about how
much she loved it and how
she wish she could have hair like that.
>> Three, two, one!
>> For me, I know how special my hair is to me and
how I think it just can make me feel special and pretty,
so for anyone that who didn't have that opportunity,
I want to be able to give it to them.
>> I think knowing that some other little girl
is going to have my hair is great.
It's nice that I can spread the love, I guess.
>> The most impressive part is organizing
so many people and there's people that you know
run everything from security to cleaning the bathrooms
and helping with press and running lost and found booths
and info booths and everything that goes into it.
It truly is a year in the making and
we couldn't do it without every single individual volunteer.
>> Rules and regulations controls and regulates
everything that THON is,
they are security and they're also a safety team
to make sure everything run smoothly.
>> There's 46 hours, 700 plus dancers,
they all need to be refueled with water, constant Gatorade,
food, not just the dancers though, it's also the families,
captains, pretty much anyone that's involved will need
to have food and water at the same time.
It's pretty much providing, refueling for everyone.
>> This is Andrew... (laughs) ..Anna McAndrew.
I'll get this. This is Anna McAndrew
the best moraler in THON and she's helping me
loosen up because I'm really tight,
from standing for--
I have no idea how many hours so far.
>> Does it feel better to be outside?
>> No
>> Do you want to back in?
>> Staying on your feet for 46 hours is real hard.
So we're doing everything in our power to make sure
to put them in a position to be successful.
>> It's one of the busiest times of the entire weekend.
But at the same time, we've got it under control.
All the committees are doing everything possible
to adjust to the size of the crowds.
Everything is on schedule,
so it seems like it's going really well.
>> Oh, you got me! Oh! Oh! [ giggles ]
♪ Music ♪
>> This is my 21st THON.
>> Good for you! What family is this?
>> The Acker family.
>> Yes, of course.
>> Most families approach THON
as a healing process after the loss of their child.
And I think that we do an amazing job here
being able to have THON as a healing process.
>> There is no place other than THON
that is as close as we can get
to our daughter as we can.
She loved THON.
This is where she is.
>> And we also think these,
the kids that are dancing need to know
that they need to keep dancing.
>> Right.
>> Because they need to keep fighting
'cause there shouldn't be a roomful of people
that lost kids.
>> I THON for my brother, Jed.
He was diagnosed at age 4
with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
And he passed away at January 3rd, 2010
after 8 years of battling his cancer.
And I carry his smile and his memory
with me everyday.
>> I'm supposed to do this
and I'm supposed to be able to give back
and I'm blessed I think.
>> It brings everyone back
and gives them their own feeling of unity that,
you know, you still do have a place in this environment,
and it helps you go on.
>> But her ultimate wish was to come to THON,
so that's why we decided when she passed away
in November of 2010 that we were determined,
we were going to fulfill her wish and come.
And as you see now,
we're back for the second year because she was here.
>> No matter what stage of the process they're in,
whether they have just lost their child,
whether they know they're going to lose their child,
or whether it's been 20 years.
It's--They know that the support that they get here,
they can't get anywhere else.
And this is a place that their children are with them.
So I think it's an incredible experience.
♪ Music ♪
[ Cheering ]
>> There is so much energy spinning in that building
and it's just spectacular.
Every time I go in there and see this mass of people.
>> It's truly amazing.
I mean it's something that you can't put into words
until get here and just to be down on the floor
for the first time and to walk in I had goose bumps.
>> Everybody's been open, loving, welcoming,
it's just been a tremendous, tremendous experience so far.
♪ Music ♪
>> Our first THON was a celebration.
Charlie just got off treatment,
so we were celebrating and for us as a family,
it was a neat to have a party with 18,000 people.
We get to celebrate every year right now.
>> Just as the Penn State kids are
our children's motivator all year long,
during those three days,
we see it as our job as a family and
Claire's job as a pediatric cancer survivor
and a Four Diamonds kid
to be the motivator of the Penn State kids.
♪ Music ♪
>> I'm looking forward to it being over,
I'm in a lot of foot pain
and I just want to sit and sleep and shower.
>> It's just the feet really.
They hurt pretty much any way I stand.
>> All of a sudden, out of nowhere,
my feet felt better and my eyes just kept wanting to shut.
>> This is probably the best I've felt
in the past at least 12 hours.
I like--heard that it might be a bad idea because
like it feels really good but then it's gonna like hurt
after but like for the time being, it is worth it.
I don't want the weekend to end.
It's crazy. I'd like the pain go away.
This is like a once in lifetime thing.
So, I don't know, I want it to be here as long as possible.
>> I like watching especially the younger kids
and to see what a good time that
they can have despite their situation.
I know if they can get through that,
there's no reason I should quit.
>> Oh, I can't wait, to sit down.
I'm looking forward to mail call, which I know is soon.
>> It's like lights, camera, mail call.
♪ Music ♪
>> This is often a time were dancers are struggling a lot.
So a lot of this mail is like a lot of inspiration,
a lot of games and toys,
and fun things for them to do,
a lot of entertainment.
So, when they get this,
it's like a really uplifting thing for them,
really gets them through the rest of the weekend.
>> Oh, that's so sweet.
>> Well, I just got one going from my roommate,
he wrote me the nicest letter
like saying how much he knows it means to me
and how much I mean to him,
and it was just so nice to hear.
>> This is from Julie and she made me a book.
>> There's never been a time in these 46 hours,
or however many its been at this point,
that it hasn't been an absolute joy.
♪ Music ♪

>> When we went to THON last year
it was one of the best weekends of our lives
and it's made it that much tougher
to be down here this year.
>> Is that to tight?
>> Is that comfortable?
>> Alright
>> This has been one of the hardest things
that cancer has taken away from us
not being at THON this weekend.
>> We're having a party with the Four Diamonds families
for the THON total reveal.
These children weren't able to make it to THON this year.
So we just kind of are giving them
an experience with the Penn State students
just like the children that are at THON do.
>> Yeah.
>> Yeah, how you like that?
>> I feel like I'm getting an experience that
not a lot of people get to get
there're thousands of students in the
Bryce Jordan Center but there's only 10 of us here
so it's kind of a really unique experience that we get
to have one-on-one time with these kids that
we work so hard to help every year.
>> Through the night last night, Emily had severe pain
and just because the finale is now
and everybody has showed up at the hospital, again,
Emily is up and functioning normal
and laughing and having a good time now.
>> We finished off THON last year
with Emily on my shoulders.
>> Any time we do anything with THON,
it takes the cancer away for a while.
>> Emily has grown.
>> The Jenae Holmes family.
The Tyler Truex family.
The Tucker Haas family.
The Lexie Barnett family.
♪ Music ♪
>> One of the most emotional points is
definitely Family Hour.
You watch the video about the kids
that are no longer with us.
I think that's just like a stab in the heart
'cause this is why we do it,
it's because it takes those kids from this earth
and from their families.
And Penn State becomes a family for these families.
>> Please welcome, Heather and the Bryce Carter family.
>> You don't do THON for yourself.
You do it for these families.
>> And this is Bryce, the strongest,
most courageous and determined 13-year-old we know.
>> And to hear the raw emotion and the pain,
it's kind of a roller coaster but it's a good thing
to be sad too because that fuels your passion.
That's why you do this because it really is hard
and it's not fair
and it's something that you want to change.
>> We have been so incredibly blessed to have
all of your support and to become a part of our family.
Your love and support is truly amazing, thank you.
[ Applause ]
>> Hello everybody.
I'm Vinny and this is my sister Ashley
who's holding a picture of our middle sister Lauren.
Back in 1994, Lauren began to feel sick.
She was eventually diagnosed with leukemia.
Lauren was only 7 years old at the time of her diagnosis.
Lauren loved THON just as much as she loved Christmas.
It was all she talked about.
She would even ask my mom on random weekends,
"Hey mom, can we go to THON this weekend?"
And it would be in like July. [Laughter]
And for all the hours that I've been here this weekend
dancing in her memory,
I have never felt closer to Lauren
like she is standing here right next to me
and I thank you Penn State
from the bottom of my heart
for everything you have done
for my family
and all these families standing here in front of me,
thank you so much.
>> Dancing this weekend in her memory has been
like almost like a dream come true.
It's changed my life.
This weekend, has changed my life.
>> Thank you Penn State
for all your hard work for the last 40 years.
you helped save my son's life.
Charlie is 15 months cancer free.
When the urologist looked at us and said,
"Folks, it's not good,
there's a high probability that your son has
"Sarcoma, cancer?"
"Yes, Mr. Beecher."
Those words will forever echo in my mind.
And then we saw a flicker of light on our path,
Four Diamonds.
And one thing was made very clear
that we weren't going to have to worry
about the cost of treatment
and we could put all of our energy
and all of our focus
and all of our effort into getting Charlie better.
[ Applause ]
Penn State Hershey Medical Center and Four Diamonds
have all the heavy artillery.
Right now, join me,
use all your love,
raise your foam swords,
raise your diamonds,
raise your water guns
and let's march on like Charlie to beat cancer!
We are!
>> Penn State!
>> We are!
>> Penn State!
>> We are!
>> Penn State!
>> Thank you!
>> You're welcome!
[ Cheering ]
>> Morale captains to the stage.
Last line dance, you did it.
[ Cheering ]
♪ Pump it lions pump it up, ♪
♪ let me hear you roar. ♪
♪ Cancer, we'll fight it. ♪
♪ Dancing united. ♪
♪ Penn State break it down, ♪
♪ diamonds up, all around. ♪
♪ Shine your light, win this fight, FTK. ♪
[ Cheering ]
>> We're about to calculate the THON 2012 total.
I just don't know how the weekend went by so fast but--
I know that the feelings from this weekend
and this entire year are going to be with me forever.
>> ♪ Penn State break it down, ♪
♪ diamonds up, all around. ♪
♪ Shine your light, win this fight, FTK. ♪
>> All right, just--
so just you know on the left part of my--
>> Oh wait, but it's going to go, oh, right?
>> No, we just press enter.
>> In, one, two three? 1, 2, 3.
>> Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God.
>> THON never ceases to amaze me.
I--It just doesn't.
It's magic.
That's what THON is.
>> I think through everything that happened this year,
the one thing our entire THON community has done
is believe and this shows that we believe.
>> Is this real?
>> No.
[ Crying ]
>>♪ Four Diamonds light the night, ♪
♪ making every journey bright. ♪
[ Cheering ]
>> All right dancers, are you ready to sit?
>> 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1
Sit down!
[ Music & Cheering ]

>> All right, Penn State.
And the total for THON 2012 Brighten Every Journey is--
>> Here we go, here we go.
>> Let's go.
>> Yes, finally.
>> Come on, come on, come on baby.
>> Ten million, six hundred eighty-six thousand,
nine hundred twenty-four dollars and eighty three cents!
[ Cheering ]
>> Yay!
[ Cheering ]
♪ Music ♪

>> I read some place,
"those things that we do for ourselves alone die with us,
those that we do for others and humanity
live on and become immortal."
In the beginning when people would say,
"Isn't it great what you--
don't you feel great what you've done?"
I said, "I didn't do it.
Thousands of people did it.
Penn State students did it.
MiniTHON students are doing it.
There are so many people out there that did it."
Before Chris died, he said,
"If I die"--and he knew that he was not in a good situation.
"He said, "If I die I want to come back as a wizard
and make people well."
And I tell the Penn State students,
you're bringing his wish to reality
by doing what you're doing.
♪ Music ♪
♪ Music ♪
>> Find more information about
the Four Diamonds Fund and THON at
four diamonds.org.
Support for this program provided by
Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital
and PepsiCo
Additional funding provided by
The Penn State Alumni Association
and Penn State Bookstore
and by Viewers Like You. Thank You.
A dvd of this program is available at
Penn State Media Sales
online at mediasales.psu.edu