by Emma Saltzman

When many people think of THON™, they think of the 46-hour, no sitting, no sleeping, dance marathon that takes place in the Bryce Jordan Center every February. While THON Weekend is certainly the most anticipated event of the THON Year, volunteers, organizations, and supporters celebrate the magic of THON all year. Here is a look into some of the events on the road to THON every year. 

Ignite The Fight: July 1 

The THON fundraising window begins yearly on July 1, kicking off our efforts for the upcoming year. At this time, volunteers and supporters may set up their DonorDrives and start their fundraising events. 

Theme Reveal: Homecoming Parade 

The highly anticipated Theme Reveal takes place at the Homecoming Parade each fall, where the Executive Committee unveils the theme from their float. The THON theme for each year encapsulates the mission of our community as we continue to grow as an organization. 

THON 5k 

As the temperatures begin to drop, THON’s first major in-person event takes place just outside where dancers will be standing in a few months. The THON 5k is the largest pre-THON event and draws in runners and supporters from across the area. While the headlining event is the race around campus, attendees also enjoy live music, the Line Lance, family stories, and a mini pep-rally.  

Dream Forward and 100 Days ‘Til THON 

By mid-November, excitement for THON Weekend truly begins to build. B The Dream Forward campaign, lasting 17 days, is the largest push in pre-THON Weekend fundraising. Volunteers, donors, alumni, and supporters engage in activities in the State College area and beyond, such as dine-out nights, social media campaigns, trivia nights, and remembrance events. The Dream Forward campaign culminates at the 100 Days ‘Til THON event, which begins the final countdown until THON Weekend. Students celebrate in the HUB with performances from various organizations, a silent disco, hair donations, and the Line Dance. Finally, the Dream Forward fundraising total is revealed! 

Family Carnival and Logo Reveal 

As THON Weekend continues to approach, THON invites Four Diamonds families to State College for a day of games, dancing, and fun in early December. Committees and organizations set up booths for families to enjoy in the Multi-Sport Facility, and organizations and artists perform throughout the day on the main stage. There is even a mini pep rally! At the end of the event, the Executive Committee reveals the THON 2024 promotional video and the THON logo to the crowd. 

THON Showcase 

After students return from Winter Break, the excitement for THON Weekend can be felt across campus. THON’s talented performers have the opportunity to give the THON community a sneak peek at what they have prepared for us THON Weekend at the THON Showcase. Singers, dancers, and musicians perform and help to build excitement for all of the entertainment that we will see in a short time. 

THON Weekend 

It’s finally here. The official start of THON Weekend, the 46-hour no sitting, no sleeping, dance marathon is marked by dancers standing up at 6:00 p.m. Dancers enter the Bryce Jordan Center through a human tunnel, cheered on by fellow THON Volunteers. In the moments before standing, dancers make sure to stretch and get situated before standing for 46 hours. The THON 2024 Executive Committee begins a countdown 10 seconds before the anticipated moment, which is finally met with hugs and celebration. For the next 46 hours, dancers will embark on a journey of strength, courage, honesty, and wisdom as they take a stand against childhood cancer. 

Closer to a Cure Celebration 

After THON Weekend, volunteers and supporters celebrate their efforts at the Closer to a Cure celebration, featuring speakers from throughout the THON community. We reflect on our efforts as an organization and prepare to foster in a new year of fighting childhood cancer, For The Kids®.