Meet Apollo FTK: 10 Questions with Paul Suhey

Meet Apollo For the Kids, a fledgling Special Interest Organization currently in is its second year of existence. Last year, the then newly-formed org raised an impressive sum of just over $37,000. This year, Apollo returns to THON as no stranger to the weekend’s shenanigans, with yellow-clad members holding down fort in their section among other special interest orgs such as Atlas, Springfield, and Ohana.

I had the chance to sit down with (stand up with?) Apollo FTK President Paul Suhey to discuss the organization’s development, its quirky members, and its THON family, the Mummerts:

Onward State: Tell us a little about yourself.

Paul Suhey: I am a junior studying chemical engineering hailing from right here in Happy Valley. I love being involved in THON, and particular Apollo, because you get to continuously see selfless acts that remind you what we are capable of when we work towards something greater than ourselves.

OS: What’s your personal favorite THON moment?

PS: During my freshman year I was on an OPPerations committee and I had the chance to help set up the BJC early Friday morning. I saw overalls, captains, and committee members running around crazily trying to get THON ready for the weekend. It was then that I first really got a full sense for the THON community. I realized how inspiring it is to be part of a philanthropy where 15,000 students work selflessly and tirelessly towards one goal: conquering pediatric cancer.

OS: Can you tell us the story of how Apollo FTK was created?

PS: After THON 2012, freshmen Maddie Fitzgerald and Jo Kinney left the Bryce Jordan Center inspired. A month later, they met over lunch and decided to start a brand new special interest organization, Apollo. The idea, in a Harry Potter-like move, was first transcribed on a napkin. That napkin has led to the growth of an organization that currently consists of over a hundred passionate and compassionate members.

OS: Tell us a little about your THON family.

PS:  We are currently paired with the Mummert Family, consisting of parents Ed and Kathy and sons Noah (6) and Ben (16). Noah was diagnosed with WILMS cancer at the age of 3 but is currently 18 months cancer-free!

OS: What’s your favorite moment with Noah and the rest of the Mummert family?

PS: Last spring, we actually got to see a monster truck show together. First of all, monster trucks are awesome in any setting, but it was a ton of fun to see Noah and Ben enjoying the show. The combination of Apollo members, Mummerts, and monster trucks is one of epic proportion.

OS: Is it intimidating to start a new THON organization when there are very established special interest orgs out there like Springfield and Atlas?

PS: You would think so, but it is actually just the opposite. I would have to say they are a huge reason for our recent growth as an organization. We constantly go to them with questions and they give us advice and answers that have guided us through tough decisions. I can say enough how thankful we are for having them as an incredible resource and inspiration. I’m excited for when it’s our turn to guide a new organization.

OS: What’s your favorite thing about Apollo?

PS: Our personality. We have a ton of fun at weekly meetings and exchange YouTube videos throughout the week like it’s our job. This year we created two subgroups – Men of Apollo (MOA) and Women of Apollo (WOA). Pretty soon we plan on having a joint WOA and MOA social. We like to do little things like this that just make us laugh. We like to laugh ( to say the least).

We are also always trying to find new and innovative projects to get involved with. This year we had the opportunity to make breakfast for families at the Hershey Ronald McDonald House and we spent a lot of time collecting can tabs for them as well.

OS: Atlas has their signature fuzzy hats. What is Apollo’s signature?

PS: NGU. NEVER GIVE UP! It’s our motto that we all live by. You’re canning and you’re exhausted? NGU. You have five exams this week? NGU. You’re about to stand for 46 hours? NGU. You can see it on our shirts and most likely overhear us saying it when you walk around campus.

OS: Lastly, we have to ask: What’s your favorite dinosaur and why?

A. Oh, T-rex for sure. Whenever I’m stressed about anything in my life I think of a T-rex trying to do jumping jacks. Is it possible not to smile when you think of that?

You can get involved with Apollo by signing up for their email list or by contacting them on Facebook.

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Bobby Chen

Writer and photographer, helping tell the many stories of the Penn State community.

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