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Courtney O’Bryan Award Presented At THON

The family of former Penn State student Courtney O’Bryan greeted the Bryce Jordan Center on Saturday afternoon during THON to share her story and present the Courtney O’Bryan Outstanding Volunteer Award in her honor.

O’Bryan passed away in 2011 during a THON canning trip when the car she was traveling in slipped on black ice. This weekend marked the ninth year her family has memorialized her at THON.

“That day changed our lives forever. How do you go on? How do you make sense of anything?” her father Bill O’Bryan said.

The award in O’Bryan’s honor was presented to Brianna Parker, who Bill said has had “more to overcome than anyone ever should.”

Parker had a heart transplant when she was 14 and after coming to Penn State, was diagnosed with stage four non-Hodgkins lymphoma at the start of the fall 2018 semester. She needed to withdraw from school while she underwent treatment, but made it to the Final Four of THON last year. This year, she’s a photography captain for THON’s Public Relations committee.

Bill quoted Parker, saying “I don’t have a chance to go through what I went through. I only got through what I had to go to because of the strength of those around me.”

The award remembers O’Bryan ever February. Joining Bill on stage was Courtney’s stepmother, her aunt, and her cousins, who will participate in their high school’s Mini THON next weekend.

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About the Author

Anthony Colucci

Anthony Colucci was once Onward State’s managing editor and preferred walk-on honors student who majored in psychology and public relations. Despite being from the make-believe land of Central Jersey, he was never a Rutgers fan. If you ever want to know how good Saquon Barkley's ball security is, ask Anthony what happened when he tried to force a fumble at the Mifflin Streak. If you want to hear the story or are bored and want to share prequel memes, follow @_anthonycolucci on Twitter or email him at [email protected]. All other requests and complaints should be directed to Onward State media contact emeritus Steve Connelly.

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