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Hello everyone! For those of you who know me, you know how important THON and the Four Diamonds Fund is to me and my family. For those of you who don't, here is my story.
It was the summer of 2006, and I had just finished up first grade. I was a very active kid, so it was weird that I began having trouble breathing doing relatively easy things, like going up the stairs. I went to the doctor multiple times, and after the third trip they found that I had Lymphoblastic Lymphoma. In simpler terms, cancer. I underwent immediate life-threatening surgery, which luckily I made it out alright. Soon, my life became regulated with constant hospital stays, needles in every part of my body, three additional life-threatening surgeries, and enough bad hospital food to last a lifetime. Finally, on October 23rd, 2009, I was pronounced cancer free. Hiding in the background was the fact that throughout the months of intense chemotherapy and remission, we never had to worry about the cost of the treatments, and that was single-handedly because of THON.
I experienced my first Penn State Dance Marathon in 2007, and from the moment I stepped into the BJC, even as a somewhat naive eight-year-old, I was absolutely floored by the buzzing positivity and hope. That weekend felt as though it was a movie. For a weekend, I forgot that I was a bald, chubby kid fighting for his life. People treated me like a rockstar, and I finally felt like I was a kid again. It was on the car ride home that I made a promise to myself that I would dedicate my life to help as many people feel the way that I did that weekend.
So, that's exactly what I did. In high school, I was chosen to be a senior chair of my school's Mini-THON, in which I oversaw hundreds of volunteers en route to raising nearly $110,000. When it came to my college decision, it was easy. Penn State has been my home since 2007, going anywhere else just simply didn't feel right. As soon as I stepped on campus, I rushed to get involved. My freshman year, I joined a Dancer Relations committee and had one of the best years of my life. My sophomore year, I rejoined another DR committee, and additionally joined my paired THON organization, Sigma Phi Epsilon, and met some of my best friends in the world. Now, as a junior, I have been elected as an overall THON chair for SigEp and our new partner Pi Beta Phi, and been chosen to be a Dancer Relations captain for THON 2020. Though my life may be busy, I could not be more excited to take on this year with some of the most amazing people I have met in my lifetime.
THON has been a staple in my life for years, and I am just trying to give back in every way I possibly can. That is why I set my fundraising goal for THON 2020 at $5,000. I understand this seems a little lofty, but I truly believe that I can get it done, because this organization means everything to me. If you are able to donate absolutely anything, I am so unbelievable grateful for you. If you cannot, that is totally fine too! All I ask is that you share my page so more people can find out about this organization. You truly are making a different in countless families lives. God bless.