Grace Ronan, a THON 2023 Dancer, Shares Her Story

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

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Penn State’s THON Weekend consists of a 46-hour dance marathon for more than 700 students, who cannot sit down or sleep.

All dancers have been standing in the pursuit of a cure for childhood cancer since 6:00 p.m. on Friday at the Bryce Jordan Center.

Each THON dancer has a different story of earning that high-esteemed and honored role for the weekend. Some are independent dancer couples, where they fundraise for themselves, others represent their Greek life chapter, sports club, or organization.

One special story is from Grace Ronan, a fourth-year student majoring in hospitality management.

Ronan shares her passion for THON and her four-year long aspiration to be a dancer at THON weekend. Now, she’s finally accomplished her goals.

“I knew THON was something that I was passionate about since freshman year and it’s just such an amazing cause of Penn State students coming together to raise money for something that is larger than any of us individually,” Ronan said.

As she heads into the weekend, she has an immeasurable amount of excitement. But as expected, there are some nerve racking thoughts going through her head also.

“I’ve been excited for four years, potentially being able to do this my senior year. So now that it’s actually here, I feel myself getting more nervous,” Ronan said. “I feel like it’s the uncertainty… and a lot of anticipation for a big event.”

Ronan found out she will be dancing at THON 2023 in early December and since then she has been practicing good habits in preparation for the mental and physical challenges THON demands.

The THON community holds a recommended list of ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts’, which includes an elongated dry-period, drink more water, sleep more, stretch often, eat clean and complete regular cardio.

Ronan has taken those recommendations seriously. She has changed her sleeping habits, added more cardio to her daily routine and stretches 5-10 minutes every morning.

Ronan, since December, but during all of her years at Penn State has worked diligently to earn her role as the coveted dancer during THON Weekend. She is representing her sorority, but has focused a lot of her time toward THON.

“I’m working for my Greek organization, Delta Zeta, and I’ve been a THON chair for them for the past two years,” Ronan said. “My position was donor drive, so I mostly focused on donations based fundraising for our members, as well as being on a committee outside of my org.”

Throughout her career at Penn State, Ronan has been devoted to making a difference for all the THON families, and her work will pay off when she completes a 46-hour dance marathon for the kids.

Ronan dances for the kids, but does not stand alone. She and hundreds of other dancers, volunteers and THON families have been filling up the Bryce Jordan Center since Friday evening to fight for a cure of childhood cancer.

Being awake and standing for 46-hours seems intense, challenging and a lot to ask for from somebody. Although, for 707 students, who are dancing at THON, dancing at THON is a privilege and a great, memorable experience and opportunity.

These dancers, including Grace Ronan, have been waiting for their moment to dance for years at Penn State. But THON is not only for those 46-hours. THON is a year-long fight for curing childhood cancer, which includes fundraising, family support and a multitude of other events.

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