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Penn State's virtual THON begins this weekend

Because of COVID-19, there have been some major changes to the event that raises millions to help the fight against childhood cancer.

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Penn State's annual 46-hour dance marathon, known as THON, kicks off this weekend in Happy Valley. However, things will look a bit different this year because of the ongoing pandemic.

"Right now, everything is virtual, so there is going to be a live stream going on with all the events. Specific organizations are still going to be performing in the BJC, but they will not have a live audience because of corona," said student dancer Muthu Nagesh.

Instead of dancing on the floor of the Bryce Jordan Center, students will be dancing and standing up in the comfort of their own homes. Normally, dancers would have to stand for 46 straight hours without sleep, but this year it is a little more relaxed.

"They are encouraging us to sleep or at least sit from 12 a.m. to 6 a.m. when the live stream is not going, and then to get back up and do it from 6 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. So it comes out to about 34 hours that they are encouraging you to do," said Alysa Schappell of Tamaqua.

However, a few dancers are trying to go the whole 46 hours without a rest.

"I will be standing the whole time," said Nagesh.

"I think my partners and I are going to try. We are just going to try and keep an eye on each other," said Schappell.

Over the years, THON has raised over $180 million to help fight childhood cancer.

"I do it for the kids. I think any opportunity to support the kids and is a great cause, then I'm there for it," said Nagesh.

"It really puts that pit in your heart that is like, wow, this is definitely something special," said Schappell.

You can stream THON here.