THON 2023 Dancer, Greg O’Connor, Shares His “Why” for Dancing

Story posted February 18, 2023 in CommRadio, News by Natalie Simone

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Selected THON volunteers and fundraisers from all across Penn State have the ability to participate in the 46-hour dance marathon where they cannot sleep or even sit. This weekend at the Bryce Jordan Center gives the THON community a tangible celebration to share their passion and devotion to finding a cure for childhood cancer.

Having the honored title of dancer at THON weekend is highly respected and coveted. Greg O’Connor is a fourth-year student studying chemical engineering. He shared his own THON experiences before he entered the Bryce Jordan Center on Friday for the dance marathon.

“I wanted to dance because I’ve been involved in my org for all four years and building relationships with our families,” O’Connor said.

O’Connor is representing his organization, HEAL: Help Every Angel Live, a special interest org. “We were created specifically to help raise money for THON and Four Diamonds,” O’Connor said.

HEAL is a special organization whose purpose is to raise money and awareness for childhood cancer, all in the pursuit of a cure.

In preparations to make THON weekend seamless and enjoyable, O’Connor shared how he has changed some of his habits. “I’ve completely cut out alcohol, caffeine, nicotine and just anything that would detract from my physical health. I’ve been doing yoga twice a day.”

He shared the excitement and privilege he feels to be able to be a part of something much larger than himself, but O’Connor is nervous for certain things.

“I think I’m nervous about being overwhelmed at points,” O’Connor said. “It’s going to be super loud and there’s going to be so much going on. Especially as I get more tired, I might just get overwhelmed and not know what to do.”

However, he has countless amounts of students on his side during THON weekend. After speaking to past dancers for advice, one piece of wisdom stuck with him in particular.

“I think the biggest thing is to not say no to any opportunities,” O’Connor said. “A lot of them said their biggest challenges were that they would get bored.”

Being awake for 46 hours seems like a challenge and a lot to ask from someone, but for 707 THON dancers, and Greg O’Connor, this is a dream come true.

This weekend is a 46-hour event to show his passion and devotion to end childhood cancer.

Natalie Simone is a first-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, email