Some know her as a sister, who is always there to brighten up your day. Others know her as a driven Bio student. Most know her as one of the three who was asked to represent Penn State Behrend at THON.
Morgan Shaw talked with one of our writers to talk about THON, her experience dancing in THON at University Park this past weekend and what you can do to help the kids!
What is your major and year?
I am a junior Biology major
What do you want to do when you graduate?
After I graduate my goal is to go to Physical Therapy school and receive my degree as a professional physical therapist!
What do you like to do outside of school?
Outside of school and THON, I am on the executive board of Alpha Sigma Alpha, I am a lion scout as well as a Lion Ambassador and I also am a community assistant at Hudson Lofts! I really like to hang out when I have free time with my friends and just movies or go outside anytime that the weather is nice.
When did you hear about THON and what made you want to join?
I heard about THON when I was in high school because we hosted a mini-THON every year. In the past, I was always unable to attend them because I had cheer competitions when they were hosted! But I knew all about what THON was.
What qualifications did you have to have to be able to participate in THON?
To participate in the club you do not have to have any qualifications! Just the drive to do something for a great cause! We welcome anyone that is willing to come to meetings and participate in fundraising events and wants to have fun! To dance at THON though and stand for the whole 46 hours the first thing you have to be a dancer at 24FAC (For a Cure) which is the miniTHON that we host at Behrend every year that lasts for 24 hours! This year at 24FAC we raised over $27000! After you dance at 24FAC you must continue to raise money and stay involved in the club! Over winter break and application opens up on BehrendSync for people that want to dance at THON. And then if you are selected from your application you will schedule an interview so that everyone can learn more about why you want to dance! After the interview, they decide on which dancers will be selected! You also must prepare physically and mentally if you want to dance in THON and I started around November. You have to make sure that you hit legs and get lots of cardio in as well as eat well and you have to give up caffeine! Giving up caffeine was definitely hard for me but you cannot have it during THON weekend so I gave it up about 2 weeks before THON!
What went through your mind when you were wide awake for 46 hours?
Honestly, a lot of things went through my mind the whole time but I think the most important thing to remember and to think about for the 46 hours is the reason that you are doing! Which is FTK (for the kids)! Realizing the impact that you are having on someone’s life is more than enough to keep you going! And being on the floor and being able to play with the kids and families helps to remind you that THON is such an amazing thing. You realize that standing for 46 hours is nothing compared to what these families go through so you just have to do your best to keep going! The other thing that really kept me going was the fact that my friends and family came to University Park to see me and come down on the floor and help me up when I was getting down. I definitely would not have made it without all of them!
What advice would you give to someone wanting to participate in THON?
Get involved! Get involved with Behrend benefiting THON and work like there’s no tomorrow! Going canvassing (walking door to door) and asking for money is a great way to raise money for THON that gets directly credited to you! Going to ribboning weekends and participating in all of the events we have gives you the best shot at dancing at THON, because it is a very competitive process! But it was the most rewarding thing that I have ever done!
How would you recommend that they prepare (physically and mentally)
I already touched on this a little but the physical part of preparing is actually the easiest part of THON. The most important ways to prepare physically are to do 24FAC, run, eat better, sleep as much as possible, and give up caffeine! It is easy to run on the treadmill and eat right but the emotional part is where everything takes a turn. This is because you really have no idea how you are going to react to THON until you do it! This THON, personally, was my 3rd THON but it was absolutely unlike any other. I know all of the stories from the families and I know why I wanted to dance and stand for an amazing cause but being there on the floor, experiencing more of what I thought that I could, really showed me exactly why we do what we do. It showed why every single second that we walked door to door asking for money in 80-degree weather and why we stood outside of stores in 10-degree weather was worth it. You are impacting the life of a child who needs it. I think that every single person has a very different reaction to THON but being able to dance with two amazing people, Tyler and Matt, by my side meant the world to me.
Thank you, Morgan, for speaking to us and for always striving to make a difference!