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about 7 months ago
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Update from the Floor: Dancer Michael Keefe’s THON Experience

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Michael Keefe’s pink nails are not a fashion statement.

One of the Penn State Harrisburg dancer’s THON families has all daughters. You can probably guess the rest.

“We let them do make-up on us and stuff like that,” Keefe said. “One week they were painting our nails and I said, ‘hey, why don’t I paint my nails a certain color for you guys for THON weekend to show my support for you!’”

Of course, his nails ended up pink.

It’s not hard to believe why Keefe is perfectly OK with giving up his fingernails for 46 hours. The bearded, sometimes-caped senior exudes a care for the cancer-fighting cause. As a high schooler in Collegeville, Keefe saw the effects of the disease first-hand when his mother was diagnosed with breast cancer.

“Seeing what she had to go through was absolutely awful,” Keefe said. “…For a kid to go through that is absolutely even worse. It robs them of their childhood. Being a kid myself, I found THON a way to help kids and support the community.”

His mother’s cancer is in remission, thankfully. That certainly hasn’t stopped his efforts – he raised the most money of the members in his committee and is in charge of setting up events with Four Diamonds families.

Friends from Penn State Harrisburg have been cheering him and his fellow dancers on from Section 107.

“He’s always making sure everyone else is having fun,” said Catarina Matias, in the stands. “He cares about others before himself, wants to make sure someone is happy before he is.”

Keefe was holding up well around 2:30 p.m. Saturday. He had hit a bit of lull but started drinking more water and Gatorade. Moraler Kelly Bioshi gave a positive forecast for him.

“He’s just a big teddy bear,” Matis said.

image Ted Hozza
THON - The IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon (THON), the most ubiquitous event on campus, has been in existence since 1973. THON currently benefits the Four Diamonds Fund at the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center Children’s Hospital and has raised over $100,000,000 since its inception. Read more