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'Journey Together:' THON 2020 Gets Underway at the BJC

by on February 21, 2020 11:05 PM

The theme for THON 2020 is "Journey Together," a representation of the support the Penn State student-run philanthropy offers Four Diamonds families throughout their battles with pediatric cancer and the work toward eliminating the disease.

On Friday night at the Bryce Jordan Center, they began another journey, this one the 46-hour Penn State Dance Marathon that marks a culmination of year-round efforts to raise money for the Four Diamonds at Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital and provide emotional support for pediatric cancer patients and their families.

At 6 p.m., 707 dancers got on their feet and will remain standing until 4 p.m. Sunday as they are joined by thousands more THON volunteers, supporters, and, of course, generations of Four Diamonds families.

The early hours were expectedly ebullient and energetic, with participants and children dancing and playing games. And there were some surprises, like a visit from a few Penn State basketball stars and a performance by pop singer Daya.

Now in its 43rd year of partnering with Four Diamonds — which ensures families of pediatric cancer patients never receive a bill for their treatment and funds critical research — THON has raised more than $168 million and helped more than 4,000 families.

McKenna Voss, 10, sits on the shoulders of her father, Branden Voss, during the early hours of THON 2020 at the BJC. McKenna was diagnosed with cancer in 2017 and had her last treatment in 2018. Photo by Geoff Rushton | StateCollege.com


Charlize Curry, 8, sits on her father Clarence Curry's shoulders during the early hours of THON 2020. Charlize's sister, Mina Horan, is a Four Diamonds child.  Photo by Geoff Rushton | StateCollege.com


Lizzie Wang, who danced in THON as a senior in 2019, holds Four Diamonds child Mina Horan during the early hours of THON 2020 at the BJC. Mina was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 2 and has since finished treatment. Photo by Geoff Rushton | StateCollege.com

Penn State basketball's Mike Watkins and Lamar Stevens are no strangers to the BJC floor, but this time they were there to mingle with dancers and families before they head to Indiana for a road game on Sunday.

Penn State basketball's Mike Watkins spent some time on the floor of the BJC, visiting with THON members and families and taking photos. Photo by Geoff Rushton | StateCollege.com


Penn State basketball's Lamar Stevens greeted and took photos with THON participants and families on the BJC floor. Photo by Mikey Mandarino | Onward State

Daya, who previously performed at Penn State at Movin' On in 2018, continued the recent tradition of surprise THON concerts, which have included DNCE, Misterwives and Andy Grammer.

The Mount Lebanon native had the crowd energized with a performance that included her hits and a few covers.

Pop singer Daya delivered an electrifying surprise performance on Friday night of THON 2020 at the BJC. Photo by Geoff Rushton | StateCollege.com


Daya's surprise concert thrilled the THON crowd on Friday night, with songs including top 40 hits “Sit Still, Look Pretty” and “Hideaway,” and the Grammy-winning Chainsmokers collaboration “Don’t Let Me Down.” Photo by Geoff Rushton | StateCollege.com

 



The Nittany Lion joined Daya on stage during her performance on Friday night of THON 2020 at the BJC. Photo by Geoff Rushton | StateCollege.com


In a hallway at the event level in the Bryce Jordan, posters made by Four Diamonds families share some of their stories of battling pediatric cancer. Photo by Geoff Rushton | StateCollege.com


Dancer Relations captains lead the THON crowd through the 2020 line dance, a tradition that includes lyrics about the past year set to a blend of popular songs. Photo by Geoff Rushton | StateCollege.com


Dancers quickly learned the new line dance for THON 2020. Photo by Geoff Rushton | StateCollege.com

Youngsters aren't the only ones who get to ride on shoulders at THON. Junior dancer Jon Lawrence got a lift from his friend Clayton Brown during the early hours of THON 2020 at the BJC. Photo by Geoff Rushton | StateCollege.com

Greek life organizations display their letters in colorful and creative ways in the stands at the BJC during THON.  Photo by Geoff Rushton | StateCollege.com


For the fourth year, THON special interest organization AYUDA paid tribute to Tim Piazza, who was a member of the group before his death in February 2017. Photo by Geoff Rushton | StateCollege.com

 

THON 2020 Friday:

• CATA Offering Extended Loop Service During THON

• Parking Captain Sets Mood for THON Goers, Participants

•  ‘An Experience You Never Forget’: Penn State Senior, Former Women's Soccer Goalkeeper Prepares for Her Third and Final Dance at THON

• A New THON Perspective for Cancer Survivors

• Mayor Ron Filippelli, Tom and Tamra Fountaine Officially Declare State College ‘City Of THON’

• Nittany Lion and Beaver Stadium Mic Man Bring Energy and Unity to THON as Dancer Couple



Geoff Rushton is managing editor for StateCollege.com. Contact him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter at @geoffrushton.
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