When Penn State Alumni Association executive director Paul Clifford took the stage Saturday morning at the Bryce Jordan Center, his energizing remarks underscored just why 707 student dancers and thousands more volunteers and supporters were spending 46 hours on their feet this weekend.
“THON is a movement,” Clifford said. “It’s a mobilization of this community to put an end to pediatric cancer. THON inspires the community. THON changes lives. THON saves lives. You know, it’s not too long ago that three out of five kids who were diagnosed with cancer would lose that battle. Today, because of what you’re doing, four out of five of those kids actually beat cancer.”
The culmination of year-round efforts benefiting the Four Diamonds at Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital, THON was in full swing throughout the day on Saturday, and everywhere you looked their were reminders of Clifford’s words — pediatric cancer patients, survivors and their families who receive support from Four Diamonds and THON students.
Four Diamonds child Harrison Fischman, 4, of Harrisburg, played with bubbles on the floor of the BJC during THON on Saturday. Harrison was diagnosed two years ago and is currently post-treatment. Photo by Geoff Rushton | StateCollege.com
Photo by Geoff Rushton | StateCollege.com
Clifford was one of several speakers delivering remarks early on Saturday, including Lt. Gov. John Fetterman and state Rep. Kerry Benninghoff, of Bellefonte.
Benninghoff’s daughter Ryleigh died in 2010 following a battle with cancer and he has been a passionate supporter of cancer research and THON.
“Although your legs hurt, you’re tired, you want to take a nap…we thank you from the bottom of our hearts,” he said. “I believe one day we’re going to have a party like this celebrating the fact that we’re able to cure cancer.”
It was another day of fun and entertainment, some of it provided by Four Diamonds Kids and their families. The always popular Kids Talent Show took center stage late Saturday afternoon.
Four Diamonds families and musical therapists from Penn State Hershey Children’s hospital performed a song about THON, with lyrics written by pediatric cancer patients, during the Kids Talent Show on Saturday in the Bryce Jordan Center. Photo by Geoff Rushton | StateCollege.com
Sarah Zeisloft, Karis Leonard and Sophia Leonard perform an original dance to Run Wild by King & Country during the Kids Talent Show at THON on Saturday. Photo by Geoff Rushton | StateCollege.com
Jackson Brennan performed Bruno Mars’ 24k Magic on the saxophone during the Kids Talent Show at THON on Saturday.
A steady stream of entertainment acts take the stage throughout THON, and on Saturday afternoon that included a thrilling jump-rope performance, an always popular cover band and a talented group of Penn State student singers.
The Bungee Jumpers jump rope team thrilled the crowd at the Bryce Jordan Center on Saturday with a challenging and acrobatic performance. Photo by Matt Sniegowski | Onward State
Crowd favorites My Hero Zero performed an energetic mid-day set that had the Bryce Jordan Center moving during THON on Saturday. Photo by Geoff Rushton | StateCollege.com
The Singing Lions a capella group performed on Saturday afternoon at THON in the Bryce Jordan Center. Photo by Geoff Rushton | StateCollege.com
At about the midway point of the weekend, dancers found different ways to get some relief after more than 20 hours on their feet.
Dancers get a few seconds off their feet and a 10-second massage after being doused in baby powder during Slides of Strength at THON. Photo by Geoff Rushton | StateCollege.com
Stephen Clouse, a senior and member of Sigma Phi Epsilon who is a THON dancer for the first time, gets some help stretching from junior Caeleigh Tannian, a member of Gamma Phi Beta, at about the halfway point of THON 2020. Photo by Geoff Rushton | StateCollege.com
Dancers and volunteers perform the THON 2020 line dance on Saturday afternoon at the Bryce Jordan Center. Photo by Geoff Rushton | StateCollege.com
THON concludes at 4 p.m. on Sunday