I was back in the Bryce Jordan Center bright and early today for the last several hours of THON 2014. From an emotional family hour, to an energy filled final hour the the building was at capacity with dancers on their feet through the aches and pains. After 46 hours they sat, but only for minutes before they jumped up to celebrate this years grand total of over $13 million! FOR THE KIDS!
After high school wrestling I was back to THON. I met up with some of the Four Diamonds families as they toured the Lasch Football building as part of an event with the Make-A-Wish foundation. The kids darted around the locker room trying on equipment and Spider sent a warm message to all in the room. As I walked into the BJC about 22 hours into the event the building was rocking, as usual. After I edited the first group of photos and got some dinner I decided to head back for the late night fun. I knew the images wouldn’t make it in to print, but we rarely cover the pep rally and I was looking for more photos to continue adding to my gallery. I bumped into one of our local youngsters who has battled cancer, and laughed captured her antics. Then came the friendly dance off competition full of 90’s tunes, flips and entertainment from the sports teams and Blue Band.
One of the biggest weekends in Happy Valley has arrived. It’s THON 2014 weekend!
Each year thousands of Penn State students spend their free time raising money through events, canning weekends, letters and more to benefit the Four Diamonds Fund. The Four Diamonds Fund helps families with the costs of pediatric cancer. The THON fundraising year celebrates with a 46 hour dance marathon, were over 700 students stay on their feet for an entire weekend to dance for a cure. The event grows every year, from those involved, to those who know about it, to the money raised.
Today the big event started off with the arrival of the Hope Express, a group of runners who journeyed from the Hershey Medical Center were many of the pediatric cancer patients are, to State College. They ran 140 miles and all night to connect those at the hospital and those in the Bryce Jordan Center.
The dancers entered the Bryce Jordan Center to cheers through the human tunnel. Dancers met their friends, Four Diamond families, and stretched before the 6 pm stand time. The overall committee counted down to STAND UP and the fun started right away. Dancing, squirt gun battles, bubbles and more.
Then came learning the line dance. The song that will be performed throughout the weekend sums up current events in the last year, with a message to keep the dancers moving and why the event it so important.
Penn State hockey had an intense series with Michigan State this weekend at Pegula Ice Arena. Friday nights game went into a shoot out, the first I have covered. After confusion on which end each team would shoot on I settled to photograph the Penn State players as they skated towards me, and use a long lens across the ice as the goalie made saves to the cheers of the student section. After seven rounds the Spartans got the win.
The snow was coming down as I got ready for work, and with all the schools close I knew my assignments had been canceled. I layered on the warm clothes and threw my snow pants in the car. As the snow accumulated outside our office I headed out to find snow features. Being fully prepared for the elements I excitedly headed to get a newsy photo as the traffic built up from Penn State dismissing early. Then the fun began as I captured sledding youngsters, snow boarding teens and an adorable puppy.
This afternoon I ventured out to meet Rugar, a friendly German Shepherd. The pup spends his days outside happily running in the back yard from a twenty foot chain, and napping in his heated dog house with a heated water bowl. Lately Rugar’s owner has been getting calls and visits from police of neighbors and passerby’s being concerned about the dog being outside. At first he didn’t mind showing that the dog is safe and healthy with the cold temperatures, but as the visits become more frequent it is taking a toll on he and his wife. I spent a decent amount of time there as the man teared up sharing the story and saying how much he loves his dog, and seeing how much the dog adores him, and is full or energy and excitement to be outside.