Brotherhood’s Bond: How Two THON Children Joined The Fraternity That Supports Them
Friendships are tough. While we like to think that each one of ours will last forever, most rarely do. The story of Robby and Tucker’s friendship, however, is much much different than most. The pair truly have a bond that will last forever.
THON children Robby Schweitzer and Tucker Haas met back in 2004 when Haas was paired with Alpha Tau Omega and Zeta Tau Alpha for THON. Schweitzer, now a senior at Penn State and dancer for ATO in THON 2020, had already been paired with ATO/ZTA for a few years when Haas joined the group. And funny enough, Schweitzer wasn’t too fond of Haas when the pair first met.
“During the first couple of months I didn’t really like him that much because he was obviously the new kid and stole my thunder a little bit,” Schweitzer said. “But we’ve been like brothers for the past 16 years.”
“When a new THON family comes in, they’re kind of like the center of attention,” Haas added. “But ever since then, we’ve been best friends, and now we see each other almost every day, if not every day.”
Though Schweitzer and Haas have been paired with ATO/ZTA for years now, when Haas first joined the Four Diamonds family he was originally paired with EMS. While he enjoyed his year with the group, the next year they decided to switch things up and he was repaired with ATO/ZTA where he met Schweitzer.
One of the things that they feel makes their friendship so unique is how close their families have become over the years. They get together often and both boys’ sisters have become best friends as well. They thank part of this to the fact that Schweitzer and Haas live within 30 minutes of each other at home, which provided them with a unique experience not all THON families have.
In fact, the two actually went to neighboring high schools.
“We played football against each other in high school,” Haas said. “That was fun…we were both the last ones in line and gave each other a little hug [after the game].”
Having known each other for the majority of their lives, Schweitzer and Haas have a bond that is unlike many others. They’ve been with each other through thick and thin.
Schweitzer was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia as a child but has been cancer-free since 2004. Haas’s story is a bit different. He was diagnosed with a rare form of sarcoma and relapsed twice, but has been cancer-free for more than 13 years now.
Haas, now a freshman in his first year at Penn State, likes to think that despite their age difference, the two can play tag-team and take turns stepping into a “big brother” role for the other when things get hard.
“We both went through things…and I went through some situations that are different from what he’s gone through,” Haas said. “So, we can kind of use each other’s situations and maybe I’ll be the big brother in one situation helping him and then in the next situation he’ll be the big brother helping me.”
This year Haas and Schweitzer will come together for the first time as college students and brothers (or soon-to-be brother in Haas’s case) in ATO for THON 2020. Finally getting the opportunity to be in ATO after all of these years just feels right for the pair.
“It’s kind of like a dream come true because when I was a little kid coming to THON I would always look up to those guys that were either dancing or had a really big part in THON,” Schweitzer said. “I thought they were obviously the coolest guys in the world.”
“I feel like I’ve been a brother my entire life because that’s what they made me,” Haas said. “That’s what they treated me as. I wasn’t seen as just their THON child, I was just always seen as one of their friends, which was awesome.”
Despite the circumstances under which they met, Schweitzer and Haas really feel like their friendship is unbreakable. They look at each other’s families as extensions of their own and thank THON for bringing them together.
“We met under the worst circumstances possible and for us to both still be here today and still have this type of friendship from that long ago…I don’t know I feel like you don’t see this very often within orgs,” Schweitzer said.
As a dancer this year, Schweitzer feels like he’s finally come full circle. This is what he’s always dreamed of for years now.
“The whole event is just beautiful and eye-opening. You can’t describe it without stepping foot in the BJC,” said Schweitzer.
While only a freshman this year, Haas hopes to dance in THON eventually himself. He’s humbled by the support so many college students choose to give to this cause.
“[There’s] 16,000+ students giving up their time and effort to raise money for kids that they don’t even know,” Haas said. “There’s organizations that have like two, three, four THON kids, but they’re not just doing THON for them. They’re doing THON for the hundreds of other kids that they don’t even know.”
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The coalition will gather for a protest at 6 p.m. on Sunday, June 7 at the Allen Street Gates.
“We just wanted to show that student-athletes can use their platform or take a stance.”
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