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THON weekend wraps, organizers calling a success

By: Lauren Hensley

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Forty-six hours, that is how long THON dancers have been dancing on the floor of the Bryce Jordan Center all in the name of helping fight pediatric cancer. Since THON started 42 years ago, thousands of Penn State students have worked together to raise more than $101 million. All of that money is going to the Four Diamonds Fund, a nonprofit that helps support children in the fight against cancer. 

By the final four hours, hundreds of dancers have laid on these massage tables getting their sore feet rubbed by massage therapists who volunteer their time to be here.

"It's just fun and knowing you are doing something good when they are doing something good," Leslie Pavlechko, owner of the Integrated BodyWorks School of Massage Therapy said.

While healing hands work to help dancers deal with their physical ailments, others say hitting the floor is emotional therapy.

"There is not another place in this entire world that I feel closer to Lauren than here at THON," Vinny Carrano, Penn State junior said.

Carrano lost his sister Lauren to cancer in the late '90s. She was a Four Diamonds Fund child. Carrano now is part of an organization that supports a THON child and on the anniversary of his sisters death, something miraculous happened.

"It gives me the chills every time I talk about it on the anniversary of my sisters passing away, that was also the date my THON child, he went into remission so he is cancer free on the date my sister passed away. He's my engine, he's my guardian angel, Carrano said.

Forty-six hours of fighting through the pain, dancers said it's special moments like the flash of a smile or big bear hug that make them remember why every step to the beat matters. 

"The pain that I go through is nothing compared to what children go through who are battling cancer, Penn State student David Suhin said.

In the grand finale, it was revealed $13,343,517.33 was raised for THON 2014.

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Edgar Snyder

Washington Times