Org Profile: Club Gymnastics THON

Club Gymnastics THON is a student-run gymnastics organization that also makes time to help with THON. Its THON Chairs this year are Claire Levy and Collin Hensley. In 2015, they did a bone marrow drive hoping to find a match for their THON child, Emilia Dameshek, who has been diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer called Ewing’s Sarcoma since 2013 when she was nine. We talked them to find out about their unique THON experience.

Onward State: Why does Club Gymnastics THON?
Club Gymnastics: We THON for the Damesheks and so that these kids have a chance to forget their disease for a weekend and enjoy just being kids. Our THON child Emilia has gone through three different cancers in less than 3 years so we THON for her and for a cure.

OS: How many dancers are there?
CG: We have two dancers! Our previous THON chairs Sarah Cooperman and Maggie Chan.  

OS: How many people are with you in the stands?
CG: We actually had a huge turn out in the stands this year. We usually only have about 15-20 during the most packed times but this year we had over 30 people in our section! It doesn’t seem like a lot but for such a small org it’s an awesome number!

OS: How Long Had Your Child Been with you?
CG: This our third year with our THON family! We first were paired with the Damesheks when Emilia was going through treatment for Ewing’s Sarcoma and have been with them through remission and relapse, cheering her on the whole way!

OS: How do you make time to fit in both THON and Gymnastics practice?
It’s not hard to make time for both gymnastics and THON at all! There’s always time to do something for the kids and we take every opportunity we get to participate in the largest student run philanthropy in the world!

OS: How much money did you collect?
CG: This year we only raised about half as much as we usually do because of the cancelled canning trips but still made over 12,000 dollars for the kids! We’re hoping they continue canning next year so we can keep raising that total!

OS: How do you stand out on THON weekend?
CG: We stand out THON weekend by dressing in the brightest, craziest outfits and cheering extra hard for our dancers. Handstands in the concourse to rest our feet helps us stand out a little too!

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Erin Servey

Erin Servey writes and copy-edits for Onward State. She's a Junior Schreyer Honors Scholar and Paterno Fellow at Penn State, studying English and psychology, with a French minor. Editing, poetry, and photography are her passions. Send questions and comments via e-mail ([email protected]) and follow her on Twitter (@ErinEServey).


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