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Why They Dance: Part 1

Earlier this week, I asked for those dancing in THON to share their stories of why they’re dancing. Because of all the great stories we received, we’ve decided to feature three dancers each week leading up to THON weekend.


Amber Delikat

Who has been involved with THON since: 2011

Since then, she has: Participated in canning and fundraising with Vole, Penn State Ballet, during her undergrad years.

Now she is: THONing with the Hershey Medical Center through the College of Medicine’s Student Pediatric Society.

And — in her words — she’s dancing because: “Twenty one years ago, my dad was termed ‘cancer-free’ and a survivor of his battle with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Despite being told he only had six more months to live, he fought and persevered through the pain. Surrounded by a wonderful team of providers and a loving family, he was able to remain positive through the darkest part of his life. His past is forever a part of my family’s future. For me, it was the inspiration to enter the field of medicine and the motivation to involve myself in cancer prevention efforts, hoping to make a difference in patients’ and their family’s lives. I will be dancing in gratitude of my father’s recovery. I will dance in honor of all the students and staff here at HMC that work hard to care for these Four Diamonds families every day. I will dance for the parents, the siblings, and the loved ones who stand by their child, day in and out, waiting for a miracle, and who exude tremendous strength through the most difficult times. But most of all, I just want to dance FOR THE KIDS and for the hope that we will find a cure. I can’t wait to see the smiling faces of all the THON kids and dance for 46 hours with all the other amazing Penn Staters!”


Kelly Burke

Who has been involved with THON since: Her freshman year.

Since then, she has: Been very involved with Pillar. Her sophomore year, she was on Special Events, and her junior year, she was on Morale.

Now she is: The canning chair for Pillar.

And — in her words — she’s dancing because: “We are truly making a difference in the lives of the Four Diamonds children and their families. It means so much to me that all of our efforts really do help the families that need it most. I will always cherish getting to witness the transformation of our THON child, Jake Waldron. When we first got the Waldrons my freshman year, Jake was so tired and sick each time we saw him. Now, he seems like a totally new energetic teenage boy. It is so amazing to me that our year round efforts to raise money for THON is what made Jake so much healthier and happier. I am dancing in THON so I can stand strong for 46 hours in support of these Four Diamonds Families and for the kids that deserve to have one weekend of the year where their only worry in the world is getting sprayed by a water gun.”


Kayleigh Denneler

Who has been involved with THON since: 2011

Now she is: Dancing with Penn State Thespians.

And — in her words — she’s dancing because: “My mom works for the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP)’s outpatient lab in Vorhees, NJ, working with children with cancer. She has worked there since I was a kid. Spending time at CHOP as a healthy child was completely eye-opening to me. I realized that there were children my age who weren’t as lucky as I was to be graced with a clean bill of health. I also learned quickly that there was presently no cure. That is something that I desperately wanted to change.

I dance to show the people I know, especially those back home and at other schools, that these kids need strong people in their corner to fight with them. I dance so that one day there will be a cure for this horrible disease. I dance as a family member and friend of people undergoing treatment for cancer in support and to give them the strength to fight on.”


Are you dancing in THON this year? Tell us your story.

About the Author



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