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Makayla Burkholder and Emma Austin (2023)

Join us on February 17, 2023

Hi! Thank you for visiting our DonorDrive page! My name is Emma Austin, and Macky and I are an independent dancer couple for THON 2023! We are extremely excited to be raising money for such an amazing cause, and even happier to be doing it together. Macky and I have been best friends since we met in high school, and are now roommates at Penn State! It is our senior year of college and just like many other Penn State students, we want to end our four years by supporting THON in the best way possible--by dancing for 46 hours straight. The most important part of dancing, is raising money to support Four Diamonds at Penn State Children's Health Hospital. To do this, we need your help! Please consider donating, any amount helps! No matter what, we appreciate your support. Continue reading to learn more about myself and Macky and our journey with THON.

Emma Austin

My first introduction to the Four Diamonds was in fourth grade when I hosted Cupcakes for Cancer with my two friends. Although we only raised a couple hundred dollars, as a 10 year old it felt great to give back. 
In high school I participated in my school's Mini-THON. It was their first Mini-THON ever and it was such a great experience helping start such a fantastic event. When I decided to attend Penn State, I knew I wanted to participate in THON. 
Freshman year I supported THON by raising money and attending with a professional development organization I was in at the time. There are no words that can describe what it feels like walking into the Bryce Jordan Center for the first time on THON weekend. The feeling of job that fills everyone there is like nothing else I have ever experienced. 
Sophomore year I wanted to get more involved in THON so I joined a committee. Although THON was a little different in 2021, I loved being apart of it. Because I was on a dancer relations committee I still got to be involved during THON weekend. I was paired with two dancers who stood all 46 hours in their apartment. They inspired me to someday want to dance in THON too. Despite not being in the BJC, they felt so passionate about the cause that they were willing to deal with the pain and raise money. 
Junior year I was on a finance committee and I got to see all the different moving parts behind the scenes. There is so much time and effort to make THON weekend happen and it is truly inspiring. I got to attend with my committee which was great to be back in the BJC. I got to go on the floor and spend hours helping out during the weekend. 
Now I am a senior and I want to dance in THON because it is an actionable way to support the children and family suffering from childhood cancer. Obviously THON is about raising money to support the Four Diamonds; however it is also about being apart of something bigger than yourself. Being a dancer is a fantastic way to truly embrace yourself in everything that THON stands for. I get to raise money and feel the impact it has on others. No matter what, I appreciate everyone's support in my journey! FTK!

Makayla Burkholder

Make a difference in the life of a child.

Help save the lives of children battling cancer by supporting THONTM. Our IDC, Makayla Burkholder and Emma Austin (2023), is taking action by uniting with 16,500 student volunteers to raise funds and awareness in the fight against childhood cancer. Since 1977, THONTM has raised over $200 million for Four Diamonds at Penn State Children's Health Hospital. Throughout our partnership, we have ensured that over 4,000 families have not seen a single medical bill. In addition, the local research that is being done is making a global impact so that one day, we will find a cure. Each February, THON's yearlong efforts and support for the families culminate in a 46-hour, no-sitting, no-sleeping dance marathon.

By supporting THON™, you will be joining a community committed to conquering childhood cancer.


Makayla Burkholder and Emma Austin (2023) have been working tirelessly all year with the hopes of being selected to dance in THON Weekend 2023. Independent Dancer Couples are dedicated individuals who set up their own fundraisers throughout the year, and with the support of friend and family, obtain tickets in a lottery system in the hopes of earning a spot as dancers in the Penn State Dance Marathon.