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‘Just Happy To Be Here’: Senior, Cancer Survivor Connor Davey Dances In Final THON

THON Weekend, regardless of where you’re watching from, is a sobering event and often gives you a renewed sense of appreciation for your life. As a cancer survivor, senior Connor Davey can relate to what Four Diamonds children and families endure.

Davey is representing his fraternity, Sigma Pi, alongside its partnered sorority, Delta Zeta, as a dancer during THON 2021. But he doesn’t have to go through this weekend alone. He’ll be dancing with five friends who all are representing Delta Zeta and Sigma Pi.

Leading up to his diagnosis, Davey remembers feeling sick and so weak that he could barely stand. After going to the emergency room at the Morristown Hospital in his home state of New Jersey, Davey had a feeling something was wrong.

“That was the only time I would say I felt scared ever because I didn’t really know what was going on,” Davey said. “I remember looking around seeing visibly sick people, visibly hurt people. Even though I was only 6 [at the time], I was like, ‘I’m here, which means I’m like them.'”

On February 14, 2006, Davey was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia – a type of blood and bone marrow cancer. It can progress quickly if left untreated.

For the first six months of his treatment, Davey was at the hospital every day and for the first two weeks, he stayed at the hospital. He lost his hair due to his treatment and couldn’t go to school. Instead, a teacher would come to visit him after school hours. All of these years later, he still gets a yearly checkup to ensure that the cancer hasn’t returned.

Although Davey’s cancer diagnosis has been a big part of his life, he never wanted the experience to define him or to dub him as “the kid with cancer.” After nearly three years of treatment, doctors declared him cancer-free on April 19, 2009, and he’s remained cancer-free for nearly 12 years.

Davey said he knows that if he could conquer cancer, then he could take on any challenge that comes his way.

“After beating cancer, you just realize it’s going to be all right at the end,” he said. “When it feels like there’s no light at the end of the tunnel, you just have to keep believing that there is one even though that’s an insanely tall task to ask when it seems like the world is falling apart.”

Davey of all people knows what cancer can do and how much of a toll it can take on a person emotionally, mentally, and physically. However, he knows how lucky he is to have a great support system and appreciates all of the experiences he’s had along the way.

“I think it’s very easy for people to just be sad when something bad like [cancer] happens, but I mean, I have a great family [and] I have great friends,” he said. “I’ve been able to travel the world and go to college. I have everything that I could’ve asked.”

Davey got involved in THON within Sigma Pi with alternative fundraising last year with family relations this year. Aside from his involvement in THON, Davey participates in walk-a-thons that raise funds for the Valerie Center at the Morristown Hospital, better known as the place where he received his treatments.

Delta Zeta and Sigma Pi have four THON families — the Zanolini, the Marra, the Murosky, and the Skinner families — all of whom Davey THONs for. But he also THONs for anyone who’s experienced cancer themselves and their families.

In his final THON, Davey said that he didn’t want to come in with any expectations but wants to walk away from this weekend feeling even more appreciative that he gets the opportunity to dance in this year’s THON.

“With all of the restrictions and everything, I feel like you can’t go in with insane expectations like a normal THON,” Davey said. “So, I’m just happy for whatever I’ll be able to do and not really focus on what I can’t.”

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About the Author

Mackenzie Cullen

Mackenzie is a junior majoring in English and is one of Onward State's associate editors. She is from Minersville, PA, and is always trying to explain exactly where that is. Send all compliments to [email protected] or @MackenzieC__ on Twitter.


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