The Underground spoke with Creed Reilly of Boulevard about his THON experiences so far.
‘So far I’ve been in the BJC for 13 hours. No breaks. I came late, I came around 1:30 in the morning and now I’m here.’ At his fourth and final Penn State THON (seventh if you count high school mini-THONs), Creed is taking a step back, ‘I gave a lot of my time in previous years to THON and this time I wanna give that opportunity to someone else who hasn’t been able to yet.’
‘I’ve never done an entire THON, but I’ve done 40 hours before… I would say the hardest one was the 40 hours. I would say the time was a factor, but I think it was also cause it was my first one. I didn’t know what to expect, and when you look back on it feels like a second, but during, it’s the longest experience of your life. But once it’s done, you sit down and you think to yourself, ‘oh, I could do that again! Easy.”
‘The hardest part for me is the final four hours, where they celebrate the children who survived and remember the children who did not. That, with the lack of sleep, all the emotion, all the work we put in for an entire year… You have to have a heart of stone not to shed a tear.’
He’s finding this year pretty easy so far, though: ‘I’m taking a stress-free approach to it, trying to enjoy my last THON!’ Yet, organizations clashing in the stands over seats is still an issue. ‘Organization is not the best. But it’s a reflection that this is run by students, so you can only hope for the best… people volunteer time, and that’s not the most foolproof way to do things. It can be frustrating, sometimes, when you can’t get down on the floor to see your friends, and also frustrating when you’re having to continually fight for your ground and fight for your space in the BJC.’
‘I think it can be done better, I don’t have any answer to how, but I think it can be done better,’ he continues. On his bandana, he’s written ‘LOVE THY NEIGHBOR, LOVE THY DANCER.’ Explaining, he says that ‘the past three years have made it so that these two days are my least favorite reason of why I THON. I THON to raise money for pediatric cancer. I THON so that I can help kids and families through tough times. I THON so I can have close relationships and be that emotional support and foundation that they need. I don’t THON for two days of bickering with organizations around us – just trying to fight for seats.’
But this year he seems positive. ‘The best part of THON has to be meeting so many new people. I know people in my organization, and that’s cool. But ever since I sat down in the interface between two organizations, I’m making a lot of friends in the one above us! Trying to keep tensions down, keep everything amicable. It’s been a really fun experience.’