Family Hour is an emotional and pivotal time in THON’s final four hours. All the Penn Staters have a chance to meet the Four Diamonds families as they walk across the stage. A couple of the families even get the chance to share their stories.
One of these families, Landon Knepp and his mom, got the chance to share their story first. Diagnosed with stage four cancer in 2014, Landon’s mom recalled the day their family discovered the cancer as “one of the worst days of our lives.”
In 2015, Landon was declared cancer-free.
The next THON family to share their story happened to be another Landon. Landon Kreider and his family have been a THON family since 2013. The Kreider family have attended five THONs now and thanked Penn State, including their organization through Penn State Harrisburg, for all their efforts.
“Learning about the Four Diamonds and THON brought us hope,” says Mr. Kreider, Landon’s dad.
Landon was also declared cancer-free in 2015.
Last to the stage was the mother of Hope Maldonado, who lost her battle with cancer in 2015. Hope’s best friend, Rose, also took the stage. Hope’s mother and friend recalled Hope’s love for THON and her Penn State friends in Alpha Xi Delta and Sigma Phi Epsilon.
“She was a warrior,” says Rose.
Along with inspiring witness testimonies from these three incredible families, tears were also shed at the Four Diamonds families who won and lost their battles with childhood cancer.
In two video montages, survivors were the first to tell their amazing journey of beating cancer and their future aspirations, many of which were to attend Penn State. Some of these survivors, who currently attend Penn State, were in the crowds today and all weekend, whether with organizations, as members of committees or as dancers on the floor.
The most difficult of the two videos, however, was a remembrance of those who lost their battles. Families and pictures detailed the enormous strength and love of life all of these children had before they left too soon.
Family Hour is the biggest source of motivation that kicks off the last four hours of THON. With stamina low after 42 hours of standing, remembering why we THON inspires the dancers and those supporting in the stands that all of these efforts are making a huge impact on the lives of Four Diamonds families and the Penn State community.