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Your Best #FTK Tattoos

THON means a lot to Penn Staters. But after being involved on an org, or dancing, or through THON itself, some volunteers take their passion for the cause to the next level by inking it onto their bodies permanently.

We asked to see your best THON ink and received dozens of submissions. Here are the best tattoos #FTK, with the stories that inspired them.

Kaitlin Dunbar: THON 2012 Dancer

“I went to my first THON in 2011 with Penn State York and was amazed instantly. I had the amazing opportunity to dance in THON 2012 and it still one of the top 3 best moments of my entire life. I then continued to participate through the Rules and Regulations committee until I graduated. I got this tattoo for two reasons. The first is to remember the best weekend of my life and what I did to help those who cannot help themselves. I spent 46 hours on my feet, for the kids. The tattoo literally translates to this and I love it. The second reason is so that I can spread THON’s mission everywhere I go. Everyone is always asking about my tattoo and what it means, so even after graduation, I am still raising awareness for this noble cause to this day. I never want to forget those 46 hours I spent on my feet for the kids because it will always be the easiest thing I could’ve done to help make the smallest difference in the life of a child. Every cub deserves to grow up to become a Nittany Lion.”

Corey Spaw: Penn State Fayette Volunteer

“I attended Penn State Fayette and graduated in 2012. I got my Four Diamonds Tattoo in recognition and support not only for the students who spend countless hours raising money for such an amazing cause, but for all the kids out there who have fought or are fighting a battle with cancer, in hopes that one day my tattoo can mean/show that we did it, we found a cure!”

Logan Himich: THON 2015 Dancer

“I graduated from Penn State in 2015 with a BS in Kinesiology after living my 4 best years in the Happiest Valley! I was on Rules & Regs committees for my freshman and sophomore years and was then THON Chair for the Powerlifting Team for my junior and senior years. I chose to be more intimate with my THON involvement after our THON child, Conner Holland, passed away; I wanted a way to remain just as close with The Holland Family and continue Conner’s legacy in everything that our team did. Being involved with THON every year was the hardest & most beneficial work I have ever done. I was chosen by my team to dance my senior year in THON 2015, and it was the most rewarding, incredible, & indescribable experience of my life to date. I so often wish I could relive my experience as a dancer by doing it all over again; I decided getting a tattoo on my leg would be my daily reminder of the perseverance & strength I know I have after dancing for 46 hours. It’s also my reminder of the courage, honesty, wisdom, & strength kids fighting cancer have & how important THON is to these families.

“My dad and I had decided we wanted matching tattoos while I was in college but couldn’t agree on what until September 2017. It was childhood cancer awareness month & everything suddenly clicked. We came up with a design together that we both instantly fell in love with. I turned my dad into a HUGE Penn State fan the day I decided I would be a Nittany Lion; however, he has been an even bigger THON fan, supporter, & advocate since the day I decided I wanted to make THON a priority in my life. He even stood & supported me the entire weekend I danced both in the stands & on the floor while I danced…just 3 weeks after having foot surgery! It’s such a special bond we share, & I wouldn’t change a thing about our tattoos. 

“Now, I’m a pediatric oncology nurse at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh and continue to love what I do by helping out these little fighters everyday. I wouldn’t change my job for the world, & my tattoo is a reminder of how THON led me to where I am today! #FTK #FTC #FCH”

Tiffany Eutsey: THON 2008, 2009, 2011 Dancer

“My name is Tiffany Eutsey, maiden name when I danced was Blocker. I graduated from Penn State Fayette in 2011. I was a dancer for THON in 08, 09 and 11. My tattoo sending isn’t a THON tattoo but is THON related as it is the initials of the child that we had as our THON family. His name was Jeremy Foust and my first time dancing was the first I had met him. His story inspired me as well as his courage and strength through his battle with cancer. He lost that battle in 2009 and this is when I got my tattoo of a star with his initials as well as it in the color orange, which was his favorite color. I had the appointment scheduled to get done right before he passed. We had gotten the news from his mom that he had lost his battle, that is when I knew this tattoo had to be for him. I stood on my feet for 46 hours for him. There was no better place for it. He taught me strength, perseverance and many other things in the short time I knew him. A few of the other THON team members and myself drove 2 1/2 hours to attend his viewing and this is where I was able to show his amazing mom my new tattoo that was for her son. I still plan to get another tattoo with the Four Diamonds logo.”

Kaitlin Shifflet: THON 2011 Dancer

“I am a Penn State Alumni 2011, danced in 2011. I got this tattoo in Aug 2011 the summer after I danced at THON. Just wanted something to remember the experience I had and always remember it’s for the kids. I am proud to be a Penn State Alumni and proud of the kids that continue to make the university great especially for the kids that need help fighting.”

Brennan Umsted: THON 2011 Dancer

“I graduated from Penn State in 2011 and danced my senior year for my fraternity Sigma Phi Epsilon in THON. This was my first tattoo and I knew I wanted to get something that was personal to me. Inside the diamonds I got 3 initials tattooed: 2 of our fraternity brothers passed away while I was in school (the MM and the BL) and I had a little brother who passed while he was very young (the HU). It felt right to honor there loss with an organization that does so much to help families with their everyday struggles.”

Lucas Nero: Current Student, Brother of 2008 Dancer

“I am currently a University Park Student slated to graduate in 2020 with a degree in education. I got this tattoo because it was the 10 year anniversary of me becoming apart of the THON Family. My sister Brianne Nero danced in 2008. Since than I have been Penn-State obsessed and in love with THON!”

Steve Bione: Moraler

“I graduated from Penn State in 2011 and THON is a defining memory of my life. I was a moraler (dancer relations) for three years. The experience changed me forever.”

Samantha Goldberg: THON 2016 Dancer

“I went to Penn state because of THON and Danced in THON my senior year in 2016. It was the best 46 hours of my life. I got the tattoo right after I danced on my left heel because that’s what hurt me the most during my 46 hours. I got the tattoo as a reminder of the hardships the children go through. FTK everyday!”

Madison Kejas: Four-Year Volunteer

“I got a 4 Diamonds tattoo several days after my freshman year THON Weekend (2013) because I had realized that THON would be one of the greatest things I would be a part of in my lifetime. My life forever changed after my first THON experience and I am thankful to have been a THON participant for all four years at Penn State. For me, the 4 Diamonds represent a moral compass that guide and inspire how I live my life. I strive to be as courageous, strong, honest, and wise as I can be in order to pursue my dreams and uplift those around me. Without THON, Penn State is still my school but with it Penn State becomes my home. While I am no longer a student at Penn State, I take comfort knowing a piece of THON is always with me and with that, I am always home.”

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About the Author

Tim Reams

Tim Reams is a senior majoring in labor employment relations.

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