The question I get asked the most is probably, “How much time do you spend on THON?” I can tell you, the answer for dedicated volunteers cannot be pinpointed to an exact number because to be honest; we are planning for THON in our heads, hours on end, throughout the days. I find myself thinking about THON on my commute to school, in class, watching TV, even in the shower!! Every second of time is valuable, and when I have an idea, I immediately write it down so I don’t lose it!
For example, we have been planning for THON Weekend since the beginning of our terms. We had our hotel rooms for our members reserved in the beginning of August, and I kid you not, we had trouble finding some because everywhere was already full! (Pro Tip: Reserve Hotel Rooms for THON Weekend in June!) We had our proposal written for funding for a bus to take us up to THON Weekend ready in November. (2nd Pro Tip: Grant writing is an amazing skill to have!)
The next month (27 days) is grind time! We had volunteers sign-up to take the bus for THON Weekend at our meeting this week, which was exciting! Not many people know this but beyond the bus spots; we have about 10-15 volunteers that will be going up on Thursday to save us spots in the Bryce Jordan Center before the rest of the organization arrives. These are the dedicated volunteers that I was talking about before; these volunteers wait in line in some crazy conditions. There are hundreds of people who wake up at the crack of dawn on Friday morning; to wait first to get in line in a crowd, and then quickly get in line once the Rules and Regulations Committee opens the line, then waits for the BJC to open! They are usually outside from about 9AM-2PM; in the middle of February, in the mountains of State College, PA, in whatever weather conditions. Last year it was a cloudy, rainy day, with high winds and I can tell you from experience, it was so worth it!
To have a spot close to our dancers THON Weekend means we can create an incredible morale so they can make it through the 46 hours! Likewise, the dancers are dancing the 46 hours in order to create an incredible morale for the children fighting cancer. These kids fight the pain and anguish from extensive treatment to fight for their lives. Standing on our feet and sacrificing just one weekend, waiting in line in the cold, and spending countless hours to plan every single second of THON is nothing compared to what these kids and families fight through every day. So when I get asked that question… “How much time do you spend on THON?” my answer can be simply, “However much time it takes until we find a cure.”
*THON Weekend takes place at Penn State University – University Park campus at the Bryce Jordan Center on February 20th-22nd 2015. To make a tax-deductible donation to Penn State Abington’s organization, please visit giveto.psu.edu/THON-Abington.