Actives Help Raise More Than $12M during 2013 THON

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Written by Sister Jillian Gordon

Over the past few years, the Morrill Chapter’s involvement in THON has been on an upward swing, and THON Weekend 2013 was no exception. The current THON Chair Rebecca Shaw and fellow dancer Joel Smith stood on their feet for 46 hours straight for the fight against pediatric cancer. Not all dancers make it to the end, and many of our own brothers and sisters in the past have struggled during the final hours.

Both Sister Shaw and Brother Smith had begun preparing far in advance for the weekend, but preparation is not as easy as it might seem.

“No matter how you prepare, you’re going in at least somewhat blind,” said Shaw. “You don’t realize how your legs and feet will hurt and the mental side effects that come with no sleep.”

Dancers are occupied with something during virtually every minute of the 46 hours, from coloring books to Slides of Strength to simply sharing their experiences with family and friends on the floor. Just “having things to do” isn’t always what is going to keep them going, however.

That’s when dancers begin to turn to their friends and family for support. The brothers and sisters of Alpha Zeta visited Joel and Becca on the floor of the Bryce Jordan Center throughout the weekend, just making conversation and keeping their energy up. Both dancers agreed that seeing their friends and family on the floor was their best motivator, and Alpha Zeta is lucky to have such a supportive fraternal family.

In the end however, keeping themselves going really relies on the dancers. When asked what kept her going, Sister Shaw had this to say, “If these kids can make it through cancer treatment, what’s a few more hours standing on my feet? If 709 others [dancers] can do it, I am right there with them.”

Penn State THON raised $12,374,034 this year, putting the total money raised for the Four Diamonds Fund to over $100 million since THON’s beginning. Alpha Zeta was able to raise almost $10,000, with money still coming in, through canning trips, THONvelopes and donations of friends and family.

Looking into the future, the Morrill Chapter hopes to continue their momentum by increasing their presence at canning weekends and looking into the possibility of adopting a Four Diamonds family. If you are interested in receiving any information about the Morrill Chapter’s involvement in THON, contact Rebecca Shaw at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

PHOTO: "Looking at Becca and Joel over three-quarters of the way through the weekend, however, they looked better than most would after a long day," says Sister Jillian Gordon, who took this photo.

thon 2013