From Florence To Their Final THON: Seniors Take On 46 Hours As An IDC

Dancing in THON is for sure an exciting accomplishment for anyone but getting to dance in THON with one of your best friends makes it all that more exciting.

Madeline Anasiewicz, a senior majoring in communication sciences and disorders, and Kathryn O’Hara, a senior majoring in human development and family studies, were selected as an independent dancer couple for THON 2020.

The duo met while studying abroad in Florence, Italy in summer 2018. When they first met, neither of them knew they wanted to dance in THON.

After officially becoming friends, Anasiewicz and O’Hara decided they wanted to dance in THON together, despite not knowing how to do so through the organizations they’re involved in.

“We didn’t necessarily know how to go about [becoming dancers] with the orgs that we’re involved in,” O’Hara said […] “We wanted to dance as seniors and wanted to raise money on our own For The Kids.”

Anasiewicz and O’Hara needed to raise at least $2,800 to be put into the independent dancer couple lottery. Each additional $600 raised would be an additional ticket for them in the lottery and from there, it was the luck of the draw.

Prior to this year, Anasiewicz’s THON involvement included standing with her sorority, Alpha Xi Delta, and working as a committee member for Rules & Regulations. As a junior, O’Hara put in to be an independent dancer but wasn’t selected. She was also a member of Springfield.

Cancer hits close to home for both seniors. Anasiewicz lost her grandfather to cancer, while O’Hara knows three families from her hometown who have been affected by cancer.

“I just love coming to THON and seeing all the kids smile for a weekend and have fun,” Anasiewicz said. “Even though maybe when they leave, they might be suffering, but it’s still great to see the impact [THON] makes.”

With plenty to look forward to this weekend, Anasiewicz is most excited for the THON pep rally and Final Four while O’Hara is excited to hang out with all of the THON families on the dance floor.

Dancing in THON for Anasiewicz and O’Hara will certainly be both an accomplishment and an experience neither of them will forget.

“I’m excited to have accomplished [dancing in THON] with so many of the other people that I’m around here and know that they did it, too,” O’Hara said. “I just think it’s a fantastic feeling when it’s over, and I hope that I can somehow hold onto that feeling for the rest of my life.”

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About the Author

Mackenzie Cullen

Sadly, Mackenzie graduated from Penn State in 2022. She majored in English and served as one of Onward State's associate editors. You can keep up with her life and send compliments to @MackenzieC__ on Twitter.

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