THON Weekend

THON Weekend is the culmination of THON's yearlong efforts. Students, Four Diamonds families and THON supporters fill the Bryce Jordan Center on Penn State's campus for a weekend of music, dancing, laughing and crying. More than 700 students have the honor each year to dance THON Weekend which entails staying awake and standing on their feet for 46 hours, all For The Kids. The students realize that the pain they may feel in their feet after 46 hours is nothing compared to the daily hardships that children fighting pediatric cancer must endure.

Other students and families come support the dancers throughout the weekend. THON Weekend begins at 6 pm on Friday and ends at 4pm on Sunday. Attendees always look forward to "The Final 4 Hours," which includes Family Hour, when every family battling pediatric cancer is recognized.  Additionally, families give speeches about their battles with cancer. THON Weekend simply cannot be explained in words. The event is open to the public and we encourage all to attend.

Events

Pre-THON

THON Weekend kicks off even before dancers stand. We start with the national anthem and the introduction of the Four Diamonds Advisory Board.  Every year Pre-THON features fun and creative performances to get the entire Bryce Jordan Center pumped up for the weekened. At the conclusion of Pre-THON, the Executive Committee is introduced, and together, they countdown for the dancers to stand. 

Fashion Show

On Saturday of THON Weekend, Four Diamonds children model Penn State gear as they walk down the runway, while dancers and the BJC crowd cheer them on.  This is a favorite event for many families, dancers, and THON volunteers!

Variety Shows

Four Diamonds kids and siblings are able to showcase their talents on stage during these Variety Shows. Kids are able to sing, dance, play an instrument, tell jokes, or share any special talent they may have. There are two Variety Shows during the weekend, and these shows are an excellent way to keep dancers entertained.

Slides of Strength

Five times throughout THON Weekend, the OPPerations Committee rolls out a giant mat and covers it with baby power. Dancers and kids have the chance to slide down the mat and receive a 10 second massage. This is the only time dancers are considered "off their feet" THON Weekend. 

Pep Rally

THON's Pep Rally is one of the largest at Penn State. Year after year, many of our esteemed athletic teams choreograph and perform an original routine based off the year's theme.  A traditional Penn State Pep Rally follows these performances. 

Family Hour

Family Hour is one of the most memorable parts of THON weekend.  The hour includes family speakers and videos, and each Four Diamonds family is recognized on stage.  This is the hour where we all take the time to remember why we are here and who we are fighting for.  This special hour recognizes every amazing family, and is an hour not to be missed!    

How to Interact with Dancers

What to do

  • Encourage them!
  • Bring their favorite snacks and drinks that are low in sugar and no caffeine
  • Engage in activities with them but keep in mind they may want their space
  • Be understanding of whatever mood they are in; they have not slept.
  • Send their Moraler inspirational letters or packages that they can deliver throughout THON weekend.
  • Make sure they are eating and staying hydrated, don’t just assume that they have
  • If you are on the floor for the final four hours, help them pack and prepare to leave
  • Talk to them about what they have been doing
  • Encourage them to wait for a massage until later in the weekend

What not to do

  • Don’t tell them the time or allude to the time of day
  • Don’t complain to them about being tired or sore
  • Don’t ask them how they are feeling
  • Don’t bring caffeine or sugar, even if they ask for it
  • Don’t overbear them with gifts; keep in mind that they have a small locker
  • Don’t argue with them, don’t try to correct them or tell them you think they are delusional