STATE COLLEGE, CENTRE COUNTY - THON 2013 is officially underway - the event in its 41st year is billed as the longest dance marathon in the country.
Students are only 5 hours in to 46 hours of non-stop dancing.
The event in the Bryce Jordan Center is held every year to raise money for the fight against childhood cancer.
The money goes to the Four Diamonds Fund at the Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital. More than 10.7 million dollars was raised in last year's event.
In the sea of thousands of people standing and dancing are unbelievable stories. Stories that show commitment to the cause of THON. Here are just a few that we found on day one of THON.
Thousands of college kids, trying to raise over 11 million dollars.
Cynthia Young graduated and left Penn State in 2012. But when she knew THON was coming, she came running. Literally, from Hershey back to State College. Her and her group The Hope Express ran 135 miles in 24 hours.
"It was kind of a way to connect Hershey Medical Center to THON and to kind of bridge that gap between the people that are at Hershey because not all the kids can come to THON and that kind of symbolizes, our journey symbolizes them coming to THON even though they can't physically be here."
Young's no stranger to THON. She was one of the dancers her freshman year. She says she knows that while these dancers are feeling good now, they've got a long road ahead of them.
"Obviously the physical pain but for me it was much more mental and just I was physically prepared but not mentally prepared and I don't know if you'll ever be mentally prepared for what you deal with."
So what would drive all these college kids to give up their weekend, lose sleep, all to stand up against childhood cancer? For people like Bryce Carter.
"This past Monday, I just got off my crutches and I'm starting to walk without them now..."
This is Carter's second THON. He's in his sixth month of remission after beating a rare form of bone cancer. His mom Heather Carter says their long road traveled would be even rougher without the Four Diamonds Fund.
"We did need the Four Diamonds Fund, Bryce's treatment was all in-patient. For 8 months my husband worked nights, and we weren't going to leave Bryce by himself, so they helped us with some of our bills, and gas..."
Every penny from THON goes to the Four Diamonds Fund, to help families like the Carters beat cancer. Their long road is why Young ran back to State College. It's why more than 700 will dance through Sunday. It's why thousands are trying to raise millions. To support Bryce Carter. Still fresh in his mind, Carter wants to send a message back to Hershey, for his friends still in the thick of the fight against cancer.
"Keep on fighting, you got this"
We'll have full coverage of THON 2013 here online and on WTAJ News.