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'Dance With Us' Takes THON Global

by on February 16, 2013 8:28 AM

For the first time in the Penn State Dance Marathon’s 41-year history, pediatric cancer awareness supporters across the world can participate in the weekend celebration through “Dance With Us,” a globally-coordinated line dance.

At 6:45 p.m., Penn State students, alumni and pediatric cancer fighters across the world can take part in “Dance With Us” by tuning into THON 2013 via Live Stream video on THON’s Facebook page.

“We wanted to find a way for those who can’t be in the Bryce Jordan Center THON weekend to feel the energy and atmosphere of the building,” THON Overall Public Relations Chairperson Cat Powers said.

The history of THON dates back to 1973.

It was first organized in that year by a group of students looking to add excitement to a dreary February in central Pennsylvania and for a way to give back to the community. Today, Penn State's THON continues to be the longest dance marathon in the country lasting 46 hours. THON has grown to engage more than 15,000 students each year and has inspired other university, high school, middle school and elementary school students across the nation to start dance marathons of their own all in the hopes of conquering pediatric cancer.

As the line dance is one of the most popular elements of THON Weekend, Powers said streaming live video worldwide of a dance would bring all those supporting pediatric cancer patients together.

“This was the best way to use a key component of THON Weekend so the whole world can take part in the fight against pediatric cancer,” she said. “This program is designed so that anywhere in the world, people can participate in such an important weekend to Penn Staters.”

In a press release, Overall Chairperson for THON, Will Martin, said it is anticipated that “Dance With Us” will inspire line dances and THON viewing parties across the globe.

“This will allow Penn State fans and pediatric cancer fighters to feel like they are in the Bryce Jordan Center from any location,” he said.

To make sure all those across the world can feel involved in THON 2013, Overall Morale Chairperson Melanie Sessa created a unique 30-second line dance just for “Dance With Us.” Simple moves and lyrics make the dance easy for all to follow.

“The lyrics are centered around pediatric cancer, the Four Diamonds Fund and THON itself,” Powers said. “The line dance ends with everyone holding up a diamond to symbolize the Four Diamonds Fund, THON’s sole beneficiary.”

Because of this, Powers believes the “Dance With Us” program will help to further spread awareness of THON’s cause.

“We are focused on finding the cure for pediatric cancer and we hope “Dance With Us” sparks passion in all of those who are looking to fight for those with pediatric cancer,” she said. “I am hoping that there will be more awareness for the fight against pediatric cancer and more support for those brave children and families.”

Powers also believes the “Dance with Us” program will provide those pediatric cancer patients who are too ill to attend THON 2013 with happiness and encouragement, as it is one of the many goals of THON.

“Hopefully, “Dance With Us” allows those children to forget that they are sick and remember what it feels like to be at THON Weekend and have than 15,000 students standing in support of them and their families,” she said.

To have your dance moves featured during “Dance With Us,” submit a video to THON’s Facebook page or dancewithus@thon.org. For more information about THON 2013, visit thon.org.



Sam is a correspondent for the Gazette.
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