Photo by Abigail Roe

Once a year, every year, after months of hard work and with a record-breaking amount of dedication, Penn State comes together for 46 non-stop hours, all in the name of ending childhood cancer. Everyone here knows that without a doubt THON is endlessly more than just a fundraiser. THON is hope for brighter tomorrows and for more tomorrows … to be able to see the difference that each of us can make as nothing more than college students is all-around indescribable.

When we all come together at the Bryce Jordan Center in a few short days, no doubt we’ll all be there for the same reasons; but what exactly are those reasons? When it comes right down to it, why do we THON? VALLEY was able to sit down with a few students, all with different experiences, to talk about every reason why they THON.

Sajad Delawar is a sophomore aerospace engineering major at Penn State. These past two semesters have made up his first year as a member of the OPPerations Committee for THON.

“I’m fortunate enough to have the opportunity to go to college and pursue my dreams,” says Delawar, “and the reason I THON is because cancer shouldn’t prevent any child from pursuing their dreams.

Emma Dieter is also a sophomore at Penn State and is a member of a Pass R&R Committee for THON this year.

“I THON for everyone’s reasons,” says Dieter. “Childhood cancer is such a horrible thing, and no one deserves to have to go through that. One of the most beautiful things to me is hearing the reasons why other people THON and who they THON for. That’s what inspires me the most. The passion people have for this fight is so uplifting and gives me a glimpse at the better side of human nature. Being involved with such a great cause is so emotionally rewarding and makes me feel like even the small part I’m playing is making a difference.”

Another member of the Class of 2020 here at Penn State, Lauren Dempsey, an advertising major, has been a member of the Club Swim team for two years now. Through Club Swim, she’s been involved in THON since the first week of her freshman year.

“When I was in first grade, my aunt was diagnosed with cancer, and when she underwent chemotherapy, she lost her hair, so I began to donate my hair so that no child fights alone. When I first started to donate my hair, I quickly learned that something that seems small to me can mean the world to someone fighting, and it is important that no one fights alone. I have since donated my hair eight times, all FTK®,” says Dempsey.

“I always want to help people, and when I got to Penn State, I joined Club Swim FTK®, and it has allowed me to see what an impact we have on these kids and their families, and I am so moved by their strength. Our two families we are paired with are some of the strongest kids I know and Club Swim benefiting THON has allowed me to meet such amazing people and allows me to help be a part of  something that has an impact beyond what I can imagine.”

If VALLEY has learned anything from the students we’ve talked to, it’s that while we all might phrase what we THON for differently, we’ve always been here for the same exact reason—For The Kids, always. And we want to hear from you; tweet us @VALLEYmag every reason why you raise your diamonds high!


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