Stepsiblings Follow In Brother’s Footsteps By Dancing In THON

There are many different paths to becoming a THON dancer, and stepsisters Reagan Thomson and Hannah Wall are a perfect example of this.

Thomson is representing Penn State’s club field hockey team on the floor of THON this weekend, and Wall is dancing for GammAcacia. Although they’re representing different organizations at the Bryce Jordan Center this weekend, their source of inspiration for dancing #FTK is the same: their older brother, Matt, who was one of 708 Penn State students to dance at THON 2017.

“Even before I came to Penn State, I knew about GammAcacia. My brother was in it and he danced when I was a freshman,” Wall, who’s originally from Basking Ridge, New Jersey, said. “Right off the bat, I got really involved just because I saw how much it meant to him. It inspired me to become a chair and, ultimately, dance.”

In addition to her older stepbrother’s prior experience, Thomson — a senior from Bedminster, New Jersey — has drawn inspiration to participate in THON through her career aspirations. She’s a kinesiology major here at Penn State, and she hopes to be a doctor one day.

Before dancing as club field hockey’s representative this year, Thomson worked on THON’s hospitality committee as a freshman, which gave her some exciting opportunities during her first year at Penn State.

“My first experience with THON was when Matt danced. I got to be on the floor when DNCE came here,” she said. “I was with Matt for that, too, and his experience really pushed me to [get involved and dance in THON]. I also feel really passionate about this great cause — and the medical aspect, too, because I want to be a doctor.”

Over the course of the past year, both stepsiblings have raised money for THON in a number of different ways. Wall and GammAcacia finished last year as the No. 4 Greek org when it comes to fundraising, and she said that the fraternity-sorority duo is on track to top last year’s goal. Gammacacia totaled $136,173.20 in fundraising #FTK last year.

As a smaller organization, club field hockey has to be a bit more creative when it comes to bringing in donations — and Thomson shared one of their more unique methods.

“Our best fundraiser this year was one we hadn’t done in the past. We made up this whole sheet and had sponsors for an ‘I pledge’ fundraiser,” she said. “People would pledge money if the team scored five goals, 10 goals, got a defensive corner — things like that — and at the end of the game, we tallied it all up.”

There aren’t many pairings of stepsiblings dancing at THON this year, and Thomson and Wall had plenty of inspiration from their family. On top of the obvious THON connection to their older brother, their parents really pushed Thomson and Wall to dance together — and they’re in town to witness THON unfold throughout this weekend.

On top of stopping by the Bryce Jordan Center to see how their kids are doing, the parents gave Thomson and Wall matching bracelets for this weekend, and each also got a yo-yo to keep them busy during their 46 hours on the floor of the BJC.

Thomson and Wall clearly have a strong support system in place for this weekend, but they wouldn’t typically fundraise together throughout the year. With that in mind, would raising the most funds on their own get competitive?

“I mean, we both share family members,” Wall said.

“Yeah, it’s really whoever texts the family first. They get the donation,” Thomson added.

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About the Author

Mikey Mandarino

In the most upsetting turn of events, Mikey graduated from Penn State with a digital & print journalism degree in the spring of 2020. He covered Penn State football and served as an editor for Onward State from 2018 until his graduation. Mikey is from Bedminster, New Jersey, so naturally, he spends lots of time yelling about all the best things his home state has to offer. Mikey also loves to play golf, but he sucks at it because golf is really hard. If you, for some reason, feel compelled to see what Mikey has to say on the internet, follow him on Twitter @Mikey_Mandarino. You can also get in touch with Mikey via his big-boy email address: [email protected]

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