Meet Brady Lucas: A THON Child Turned THON 2016 Dancer
It’s almost impossible to describe THON weekend to someone who’s never been before. Putting all of the energy, bright colors, inspiring stories, and pure joy into words is almost impossible. That’s why most freshmen have little to no idea what to expect when they enter the BJC for their first THON. But Brady Lucas knew exactly how incredible THON was when he attended it last year for the first time as a Penn State student. Lucas knew all about the wacky dance moves in the line dance, the squirt guns, and the raw emotions of Family Hour. He knew it all because he had attended THON since 2008, when he was battling cancer himself.
On April 14 2005, eight-year-old Brady Lucas was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. After his diagnosis, Lucas went on to endure three years of chemotherapy. “If you are fortunate, you only have to bring your “baby” home from the hospital once. I, on the other hand, have had to bring my “baby” home from the hospital numerous times,” his mom Lisa Lucas said.
Luckily, the Lucas family didn’t have to fight alone. They learned about the Four Diamonds Fund, and were paired with the Puerto Rican Student Association in 2008. With the help of their paired organization, the Lucas family didn’t pay a single medical bill for Brady’s treatment. “I can’t imagine going through it all without their help,” Lucas’s dad Tom Lucas said.
Brady Lucas finished his three years of chemotherapy in 2008. But in 2010, he relapsed. Though the situation was grim, Lucas kept an unwavering positive attitude. “It’s easy to stay positive when you have a son like Brady,” Tom said.
Brady’s strength spread through his entire family, despite his serious medical condition. “The worst feeling in the whole entire world, is sitting watching your precious child suffer and there is absolutely not one single thing you can do— although you’d give anything to switch places with them,” Lisa said. “He would not allow anybody to ever doubt his ability to win his fight.”
The Lucas family finally received some good news after Brady’s relapse. Brady successfully received a bone marrow transplant from his brother. The good news continued in 2011, when the Lucas family was readopted as Phi Kappa Sigma’s THON family.
When the time came for a college decision, Lucas knew where he belonged: Penn State. The choice was clear after witnessing the amazing things that THON can do first hand. “I saw the magnitude of what Penn State students do,” said Lucas.
Even as a college student, Lucas is thankful for what his battle with cancer taught him. He sees college life a little differently than most. Take getting a bad grade, for example. For Lucas, there’s a silver lining. “At least I am here to get the bad test grade,” he said.
Lucas is now a sophomore at Penn State. Last year, he took the meaning of a organization’s THON family pairing to the next level, as he joined Phi Kappa Sigma. Quite appropriately, he now serves as the fraternity’s THON chair.
The entire Lucas family is still heavily involved with THON. In August, Tom and Brady held their annual charity golf tournament benefiting THON. The two have been holding the event for eight years now, and all of the proceeds benefit Phi Kappa Sigma’s THON efforts.
In addition to serving as Phi Kappa Sigma’s THON chair, Lucas is also on a special events committee. He’s seen THON from practically every angle: THON child, volunteer, committee member, and THON chair. This February, he’ll be experiencing THON in yet another way. When Brady enters the BJC this year, he’ll be doing it as a dancer for his fraternity.
Even though he’s just a sophomore, it’s plain to see why Brady Lucas was selected as one of his fraternity’s dancers. His positive attitude persists to this day. “Follow your dreams. No matter what, keep fighting,” Lucas said.
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About the Author
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Penn State and Cincinnati faced off in the first-ever NCAA Tournament in 1981. On Friday, they’ll meet for the first time in the tournament since that fateful day.
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