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Mike the Mailman: Final THON Thoughts

by on February 28, 2012 6:00 AM

Wow. How about THON? How about THON?!

I have never thought anything should be about money. But $10.6 million raised by the great kids here at Penn State is hard to ignore. Lately here in Happy Valley, the hardest thing to ignore has been all of the media coverage centered around the Sandusky allegations and charges, Board of Trustees actions and reactions and then the passing of our beloved JoePa.

To have this university come together, like it does every year for this incredible cause, was more refereshing, more impactful than ever.
For the 300-plus Four Diamond families, THON was a success. For the countless hours of fundraising THON was a success. For the year-long planning on behalf of every student involved, THON was a success. For me, for the five minutes on stage addressing the dancers and the hour on the floor meeting and dancing with them after Mail Call officially was kicked off, THON was a success.

Congratulations again, to every single student involved. Last week was fun to have many of the dancers stop by, show me some pictures from their blur of a weekend and also thank me for being there.

Many said that at the time of Mail Call (almost 2 a.m. Sunday morning, it was the most fatigued moment of the entire weekend, but, perfectly timed with all of the letters and packages from their friends, family, Four Diamond families and even some strangers) it offered them the biggest source of motivation. One student went as far to say it felt as though someone sent her a new set of feet. She felt rejuvenated and revived after reading through all of her encouragement mail.
It is always amazing to hear different perspectives from this event. I see it through my eyes, my daughters share with me their thoughts every year, the dancers the week after come in and share their highs and lows and usually my daughters bring some friends home for THON weekend and their reactions are most memorable.

How do explain to someone who never experienced this largest student-run philanthropic event in the world?

You don't.

You can try, but it isn't until you bring these 'THON rookies' into the BJC and have them take in the experience that they are forever impacted. This year, one of my daughters brought two such THON rookies to this event and to observe them, reacting to the sheer volume of people, completely in awe that it was 2 in the morning and it felt like the middle of the day inside the BJC. To watch them interact with dancers and have to almost drag them off the floor when it was time to go home, the THON rookies are the most endearing to receive feedback from.

Over the weekend we visited THON several times, at all different times of the days and nights. Each visit we didn't leave until we saw the line dance and this year, though I think it was the longest one yet, I almost got it down.
THON 2012 will help continue to 'Brighten Every Journey' from the Four Diamond families directly affected by this event.

The THON rookies who were in attendance this year will now share their experience of this great foundation and spread awareness to others, so that by next year, they will hopefully contribute as well. Congratulations again to all involved as this year was yet another unforgettable experience.

Mike (The Mailman) Herr gives his stamp of approval to all visitors Monday through Friday at the University Park post office in the ground floor of McAllister Building, adjacent to the HUB. His views and opinions do not necessarily reflect those of Penn State University.
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