PSU news by
Penn State's student blog

Topics

About

THON Dancer Builds Better Memories

At this point, it is beyond clichéd to say that THON unites all of Penn State behind a common cause–the fight towards the eradication of childhood cancer.

But for some involved with THON, the charity and the event take on a greater meaning. Count dancer Eric Clair amongst those who have a personal connection with pediatric cancer.

“When he was 9 months old, Eric was diagnosed with cancer,” his mother, Cindy, explains.

Though Eric can’t remember much of the ordeal–from the neuroblastoma tumor pushing on a nerve that forced his left eye closed to the countless misdiagnoses, from the seven rounds of chemotherapy to the eventual receipt of a clean bill of health, there is one memory, or series of memories, from his childhood that stands out.

“Doctor visits,” Eric says. “I remember being in the hospital all the way through my teens.”

Indeed, the pronouncement of Eric as “healthy” didn’t come without some caveats. The monthly and yearly visits to so many specialists he can barely recount them all marred his childhood, even though Eric’s been officially cancer free for the past 18 years.

But all these years later, at 21 years old and on the verge of graduation, Eric now has the ability to help other children who find themselves in the position he was in as an infant.

“I can’t say THON matters more to me than it does to the other dancers, because everyone has their reasons for getting involved,” Eric said. “But for me, it’s personal.”

To help prepare for THON, Eric received a special gift from his mom.

“I sent him pictures from when he was a kid, when he was bald from the chemo,” Cindy said, “So he can see the difference from then to now.”

And those pictures couldn’t have inspired Eric more.

“I was a little nervous before THON, the same nervousness everyone has,” Eric explained. “But when I saw that picture, I really took it to heart.”

“If I could get through that, I knew I’d be able to make it through THON.”

For Eric’s Moraler, Stephanie Keiser, Eric’s victory over cancer was a surprise held until Friday.

“He told me at the beginning of THON,” Stephanie said. “I didn’t know before I got here.”

But that revelation was a positive one for the Moraler.

“It’s an especially cool experience, knowing how much it means to Eric,” she said. “I can support him in a different manner than I normally would.”

Eric described his battle with cancer as “one of the hardest points in our lives, for me and my family,” but now that he’s come out clean on the other side, he looks back with a mixture of poignancy and optimism.

“There really are a lot of positives,” Eric said. “It’s brought me and my parents even closer together. And participation in THON has just been incredible, to share this with the kids.”

“Knowing that there’s a fixed outcome, I really think I’d go through it again.”

About the Author

Devon Edwards

Devon is a 2012 Penn State graduate and current law student at NYU. Devon joined Onward State in January of 2011, after a lengthy stay in the comment section. His likes include sabermetrics, squirrels, and longs walks on the beach, and his dislikes include spelunking, when you put your clothes in the dryer and they come out still kinda damp but also warm, and the religious right.

Comments

More by Devon

Guest Column: Endorsements Keep PS4RS on Wrong Track for Accomplishing Meaningful Reform

The loudest voices in this upcoming Board of Trustees election are those who are living in the past, driven primarily by an unhealthy thirst for vengeance. They refuse to acknowledge that the present poses new and distinct challenges, and that our Trustees are the ones who must lead this university through an uncertain future.

An Apology from the Managing Editor of Onward State

Onward Debates: THON Workshops Waste of Time

Athletics

Incoming Penn State Track & Field Athlete Kristian Marche Shot To Death In Philadelphia

The incident surrounding Marche’s death is “under investigation,” according to the Philadelphia police department.

Former Women’s Gymnastics Coach Files Lawsuit Against Penn State Over Handling Of Abuse Allegations

Men’s Soccer Trio, Reading United Win PDL Eastern Conference Title, Fall Short Of National Championship

Penn State Hockey’s Evan Barratt, Aarne Talvitie Participate In World Junior Summer Showcase

Ally McHugh Wins 400 Medley National Championship

Student Life

Penn State Parking Office Runs Into Student Permit Purchase Issues

Students were delayed hours on Tuesday afternoon while trying to purchase on-campus parking permits.

Girirajan Lab Seeks To Bridge The Gap Between Fly And Human Genomes

Join Onward State: Fall 2018 Application

Plans Submitted For New KFC In State College

Developers have submitted preliminary land development plans to build a new KFC restaurant at 1780 S. Atherton St. in State College.

Join Onward State: Fall 2018 Application

Onward State is hiring for the fall semester and we’d love to have you join us.

Incoming Penn State Track & Field Athlete Kristian Marche Shot To Death In Philadelphia

The incident surrounding Marche’s death is “under investigation,” according to the Philadelphia police department.

Be the first to know

  • Top posts and the best Penn State stories

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.

Madden NFL 19 Ratings For Nittany Lions

For the second consecutive year, Sean Lee is the highest-rated Nittany Lion in the Madden video game.

Send this to a friend