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THON Director Thursday: Meet Family Relations Director Tommy Misiak

Name: Tommy Misiak

Major: Industrial Engineering

Past THON Experience:

Freshman Year: Phi Kappa Theta THON Volunteer
Sophomore Year: Entertainment Crowd ENT Committee Member
Junior Year: Family Relations Adopt-A-Family Greek Organization Liaison

Name an interesting, weird, or quirky fact about yourself:

During be a part from the start freshman year I won the grand prize from my shaker.

What made you want to apply for the Family Relations Director position for THON 2018?

I wanted to be the Family Relations Director because I felt that there was always something more that I could give. To the families, to the volunteers, to any person who has heard about Penn State’s THON, I feel that there is always something more I can give them. I believe that I can make a difference in these people’s lives and being the Family Relations Director seemed like the only logical next step to make this impact on these people. I would say being a Director and specifically the Family Relations Director wasn’t something that I thought about until THON weekend this past year. Seeing the impact myself and the rest of the Family Relations Committee had on the many Four Diamonds families that attended was all the motivation I needed to pursue the next step!

What are your responsibilities as the Family Relations Director?

As the Family Relations Director, my main duty is to ensure that all Four Diamonds families are at the heart of each and everything we do. This extends to the planning and execution of all pre-THON and THON Weekend Events, and more importantly being the families emotional support system at all times. I also have the great privilege of being these families’ liaison to THON. Anything that these families might need throughout the year, I am their go to person to make sure that their experience with THON is the best it can possibly be!

What do you want to implement in your position this year that’s unique and differs from years past?

The main goal that I wish to accomplish this year is growing the relationships between families and volunteers. At the core of everything we do, all of our time and energy is devoted to helping Four Diamonds families fight this ugly disease. I feel that as a volunteer if you do not have any sort of connection to the families that you are fundraising for it becomes hard to stay motivated. With that being said, I want to ensure that each and every volunteer has the opportunity to have some sort of interaction with a family. With the help of the Family Relations Committee and other volunteers, I think that we can bridge this gap and give more and more volunteers the opportunity to create these special bonds with families. At the end of the day this will not only benefit the families and volunteers, but also unite everyone together around the core of THON’s mission!

What makes the Family Relations committee so cool, fun, and/or important?

The Family Relations committee has the wonderful opportunity to get to know so many families on a personal level. I think what makes this even more special is the fact that we also have the opportunity to help introduce these families to the rest of the THON community. This opportunity to help unite and connect so many people is what truly makes the Family Relations committee so special. THON is one big family and I am proud to say that we help that family grow and stay supported more and more each day!

What are the overall goals you hope to reach with your committee for THON 2018?

For THON 2018 I want to give each family, volunteer, and general spectator the best experience possible. With the help of the Family Relations committee, I want to create a safe and enjoyable atmosphere that families and volunteers want to be a part of and look forward to coming back to each year. If the Family Relations committee can accomplish this, I would consider this year more than successful!

Why do you THON?

I THON for the families. I THON because I never want a parent to hear the words “your child has cancer”. I have had a small glimpse into what this disease does to children and families and will do anything in my power to fight alongside these families and help them conquer pediatric cancer. I THON so that I can bring a smile to children’s faces and comfort and hope to parents. One day we will conquer this disease and I THON for that day. A day where families can live in comfort and never have to worry about pediatric cancer again.

What’s your favorite THON memory?

My favorite THON memory is easily one of the first I have, and that is walking into the BJC freshman year. It is so hard to describe THON and all that it accomplishes. When I walked into the BJC freshman year it all hit me. That moment will forever stay with me because that was the moment where I finally began to understand what this incredible organization was all about. I know this is a favorite memory that many people share, but I truly believe this single moment has had a significant impact on my life and THON journey.

Per Onward State tradition, if you could be any dinosaur, which one would you be and why?

A velociraptor hands down. Growing up this was my favorite dinosaur and I can’t change now!

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About the Author

Elissa Hill

Elissa was the managing editor of Onward State from 2017-2019. She is from Punxsutawney, PA [insert corny Bill Murray joke here] and considers herself an expert on all things ice cream. Follow her on Twitter (@ElissaKHill) for more corny jokes.

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