by Scott Katherine

Written by Keona Montague, Kaitlyn Casciato, and Nick King 

With THON™ Weekend quickly approaching, we had the chance to speak with Abby Garland, who has been selected to dance at the 46-hour, no sitting, no sleeping dance marathon. Garland has dreamed of being a dancer since she learned about THON in middle school. When asked “why do you THON,” she said, “I THON not only to represent the kids and families battling childhood cancer but also to honor several members of my own family who have battled cancer.” To prepare to take on THON Weekend and support the kids and families, Garland will be engaging in activities such as eating healthy and working out. She mentions “I take Orange Theory classes which help with my strength and endurance as well as going to the regular gym and on walks. I’m making sure I choose foods that I know will help nourish and fuel my body to make me feel energized for the weekend.” She was enticed by THON Weekend from the start, since 46-hours can seem like an impossible task. But now that she is dancing, For The Kids® is what keeps her going. “The kids and families impacted by childhood cancer are the ones fighting the most challenging battle imaginable. I’m dancing for them, in addition to fundraising and supporting the families in any way I can. It’s all For The Kids ®.” She looks forward to making memories THON Weekend, one thing she is hoping for to get is a picture on stage THON Weekend: “I think it would be amazing and create a core memory for me to see all the students gathered in the Bryce Jordan Center from a different point of view.” 

Abby (left) at THON Weekend 2023. Courtesy of Abby Garland

Garland was selected to dance for the School of Hospitality Management (SHM) THON Organization alongside Devin Bevilacqua. Leading up to THON, SHM hosts fundraisers such as the Pineapple Gala. At this event, the dancers chosen to represent the organization are announced during a pasta dinner, typically held in early February. She recalls watching the Pep Rally with the dancers as one of her favorite moments from THON Weekend 2023 in SHM: “I visited them on the floor many times throughout the weekend… I loved being with them for the Pep Rally. It was so much fun watching so many students participate and also seeing how it cheered our SHM dancers up when things were beginning to get tougher for them.” Now, she is preparing for her turn at being a dancer and gets to dance knowing that SHM will be cheering her on as well. 

THON Weekend is lined with many highly anticipated events, but the one Garland is most excited about is the Final Four. The Final Four is the name for the last four hours (hours 42-46) of THON Weekend. During this time, we have Family Hour, where all Four Diamonds families are recognized, some of whom go on stage to speak, as well as the Total Reveal where fundraising total for the year is revealed in front of everyone in the Bryce Jordan Center. She shared that these are her “…favorite hours of the whole weekend – getting to hear the family stories, the reason why we all THON, and seeing the Total Reveal after a year of hard work to fundraise.” She also stated that she is very excited to be able to experience this event from a different perspective, saying, “I can’t wait to experience this as a dancer, after completing all 46-hours.” The last few hours of THON Weekend, as Garland attests, are a favorite among many participants. It is an extremely rewarding time for the dancers on THON Weekend, as well as all others involved in making THON such a special event.  

Featured Image: Courtesy of Abby Garland