Can you believe we THON in 14 days?!?! A mere two weeks away with so much yet to do! I keep getting asked if I think I’m ready. I’m not sure anyone could ever be ready to dance without sitting or sleeping for an entire 46 hours. The most I can do is prepare as best as possible. Ready or not, time is winding down so quickly and with each day that passes I get more and more excited. So many things have happened since my last post so I’ll do my best to recap! Saturday, January 24th, I was lucky enough to accompany Abington THON’s chair, Melissa Aguilar, to the Liberty Ball held by the Philadelphia Chapter at the Crystal Tea Room. Melissa and I had the privilege of hearing Suzanne Graney, the Director of the Four Diamonds, speak as well as the featured Four Diamonds family of the night, the Potter family. Both speeches just reinforced why I THON and how many families are kept whole because of everyone’s combined efforts. We wrapped up the night with a special dance with 5 year old Corban Potter who will be 3 years cancer free in March!
Without a moment to spare, the next day some of Abington’s THONers ventured to Mary Mother of the Redeemer grade school to help them host their first ever mini-THON. These kids between kindergarten and 8th grade brought their families and danced their hearts out for 4 hours without sitting and raised an impressive $2,715 For The Kids! What really moved me were the kids (some of whom were too young to fully grasp the concept of what we were doing) who dragged their parents from the sides of the gymnasium and made them stay standing and dancing with them. They were determined to dance the entire four hours in order to help other kids their age and it was truly amazing.
Next event on the list was the Road to THON dinner celebration at University Park the following Thursday. Although the ride up there in the snow was nerve-wracking and long, we finally arrived just in time for dinner. My fellow dancer, Diana, and our fabulous chair, Melissa, enjoyed a nice dinner and dessert and got to meet new people and dancers from other organizations. We got to hear another rather unique and powerful Four Diamonds family story and the night concluded with various awards to a select few outstanding members of THON 2015.
Then came this past weekend. Diana, Melissa, and I hit the road again to find a secluded retreat center about 30 minutes outside State College. Seriously, the GPS essentially said we had arrived at our destination on the road with nothing around us except for a few kids taking advantage of the sledding weather. Anyway, once we found the actual center, all Commonwealth Campuses completed their dancer registration and the retreat kicked off. We made Kids’ Mail while getting to know many other dancers. I can’t wait to see all the familiar faces in FOURTEEN days (if I haven’t mentioned that yet..)! Next, we were separated from Melissa and all of the Commonwealth chairs. While they did work, all the dancers had a blast (sorry, Melissa). We went over a powerpoint detailing all that we needed to know, especially packing lists. Past dancers shared their secrets and tips on how to survive THON weekend, such as by bringing lots of socks. (Which is awesome, because I LOVE socks!) Throughout the day Diana and I heard rumors that we were or we weren’t going to meet our Dancer Relation Committee Members (DRCMs), aka our lifeline for THON weekend. As the day wore on we got less and less hopeful. After going over all the information, it was time to hang out and dance. We were taught the “Chandelier” dance from Sia’s music video (just watch it and you’ll understand) which seemed completely random and was absolutely hilarious. We continued dancing and all of the sudden, the divider that had been separating chairs and dancers burst open and DRCMs came rushing in! Everyone screamed and ran to find theirs. Diana clung to my arm as we frantically searched the crowd for ours. It was then we saw the “I ❤ Abington” and “Mary and Diana” posters being hoisted up by our DRCMS Kylee and Bill and we rushed over. Everyone was all smiles and hugs and we got to spend the rest of the night getting to know each other and finally cuddling up in the frigid room to sleep. Sunday morning was a little bittersweet as we had to say our goodbyes. However, it’s not goodbye for long, because like I’ve said over and over, it’s only two weeks until we are reunited.
Until February 20, Diana and I will continue our dancer diet and exercise in order to be as physically ready as we possible can. Obviously it won’t be easy, but I do think we are mentally ready and that is what is going to get us through the 46 hours. T minus 14 days until we Empower the Dreamers. Always, FTK!