PSU news by
Penn State's student blog

Topics

About

THON Love Stories: Part One

It is a lot of Penn Staters’ dream to meet the love of their life at THON. The lights, the kids, the good cause — I mean, who wouldn’t dream of meeting someone with the same passion FTK they have? For most people this is a fantasy that, sadly, never comes to realization, but for one couple, this was its picture perfect dream come true.

At the age of 12, Katie Austin was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia at Hershey Medical Center. Shortly after the diagnosis, Katie was introduced to the Penn State Dance Marathon. Seven years later Katie was a freshman at Penn State and recently considered “cured” from her cancer. She soon began her journey as a student and THON volunteer at Penn State. Katie was selected her freshman year to serve as a Family Relations Captain for the Dance Marathon, which was the first year THON moved to its current home at the BJC.

In the meantime, during the THON 2007 season, Mike Ducker was continuing his THON journey as a Morale Captain. The following year, Mike was selected to serve as the Morale Overall. After a year of dedication to a cause close to his heart, he began interviewing and then transition to the THON 2009 Overall Committee. While leaving the interviews for Morale Overall candidates, Mike spotted a girl that he was acquainted with but didn’t really know. He shot her a thumbs up and wished her luck in her interview for the Family Relations Overall position.

Those were the first words spoken between Mike and Katie, and as Mike likes to say, “That good luck and thumbs up was the reason she got Overall.”

From then on Mike and Katie began a friendship. Through mutual friends they started to speak regularly, all while Mike was creating an organization that he would work with his senior year called Ohana. Katie and Mike spoke frequently that summer while Mike was traveling abroad and Katie was living in State College. But as fate would have it, their birthdays fell only four days apart. All in one week they were able to celebrate Mike’s birthday, the fourth of July (their first date), and Katie’s birthday.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Mike and Katie were officially a couple, and they continued everyone’s dream of a THON romance. Mike was able to dance during his senior year, and his dancer wish was to dance on stage with Katie, his dream girl and then FR Overall. While he expected their song to be played at a late hour with not many people around, he was shocked to be called on stage during the final hours of THON to dance with his “One.”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Mike graduated in 2009 and moved to Washington D.C. as Katie completed her senior year and served as Ohana’s Family Relations Chair. That year, Katie was able to bring her THON journey full circle by dancing in THON 2010 for Ohana, the organization that her boyfriend and future husband helped start.

In December 2010 while visiting Mike’s family in Florida, Mike worked up the courage to pop the question.

rsz_1rsz_proposal_10_078_1

“I knew him so well that I knew something was up; that just tells how in sync we are,” Katie said with a laugh.

Katie Austin became Katie Ducker on November 3, 2012 on a fall Saturday.

rsz_dsc02564

Katie and Mike are currently living in central Florida and just added to a puppy named Zoey their family. Of course, THON still has incredible meaning to their relationship.

“There is no question that THON brought us together. It has really been full circle,” said Katie. “It is an organization that saved my life, and without THON I would have never met Mike. I think about something so awful that happened when I was younger and how it changed me, but it also introduced me to the love of my life. It will always be a part of us. It will always be at the core of our relationship.”

Do you know anyone with an epic THON romance? E-mail [email protected] to be featured in future posts. 

About the Author

Mara Kern

Mara is a senior majoring in public relations with a minor in business. She is from Cranberry Twp., PA and enjoys blogging, cats, tweeting, and not wanting to graduate.

Comments

More by Mara

10 Questions With 2015 SPA Director Liz Malara

The Student Programming Association, or SPA for short, is one of the most funded organizations on campus. Between bringing music acts, comedians, or countless other forms of entertainment, everyone at Penn State has probably taken advantage of one of SPA’s free programs. From Keenan Thompson to Timeflies, SPA has plenty of awesome acts to live up to for next year, so we caught up with the newly selected Director, Liz Malara, to ask her ten questions.

Started From Altoona Now I’m Here: Mara Kern’s Senior Column

Stereotypical Ways to Decorate Your Mortarboard

Athletics

Max Sauve Commits To Penn State Hockey

Sauve originally committed to Vermont in 2015, but flipped to Penn State at the eleventh hour and will join the Nittany Lions next season.

Penn State Women’s Volleyball Releases 2018 Schedule

Penn State Hoops Alumnus Joonas Suotamo’s Journey To Becoming Chewbacca Featured On ESPN’s ‘E:60’

Evaluating Tony Carr’s Performance At The 2018 NBA Draft Combine

Penn State Hockey Commit Evan Bell Wins Clark Cup With USHL’s Fargo Force

Student Life

10 Questions With 2019 Class Gift Director Tom Beeby

Tom Beeby will serve as the 2019 Class Gift Executive Director.

Career Services To Launch Integrated Career Management & Recruiting Platform

Penn State Esports Wins Tespa Collegiate Hearthstone Championship

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.

Penn State Names Guadagnino Vice President For Administration

Guadagnino will continue to provide legal advice as associate general counsel in addition to his duties as vice president.

As Disciplinary Hearing Opens, Expert Says Baldwin Failed To Properly Represent Ex-Penn State Administrators

A Pennsylvania Disciplinary Board hearing began on Tuesday in Pittsburgh for former Penn State general counsel Cynthia Baldwin, who is accused of violating rules of professional conduct in her representation of former university administrators during the Jerry Sandusky investigation.

Be the first to know

  • Top posts and the best Penn State stories

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.

10 Questions With 2019 Class Gift Director Tom Beeby

Tom Beeby will serve as the 2019 Class Gift Executive Director.

Send this to a friend