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The Best Dancer Mail Of THON 2021

This week, we asked you to send in your best dancer mail from THON 2021. Despite a virtual and far-from-normal THON, your dancer mail certainly did not fall short of providing a glimpse at some of the weekend’s most touching moments.

Dancer mail was needed more than ever this year to keep dancers going and remind them why they THON. A few dancers shared their experience and sent in dancer mail that made them smile this THON. Take a look below!

Julia Valletti: Penn State Abington

The support of a best friend is sometimes all you need. Abington dancer Julia Valletti can attest to this — her best friend wrote her a letter for her to open each hour of THON.

“Dancing in THON 2021 has always been a goal of mine and it was very challenging for me because I was dancing in my living room and didn’t have my best friend there that has always supported me in my THON journey,” Valletti said. “She sent me a care package with 46 envelopes in it — one for every hour with a letter in it. This meant so much to me because it almost felt like she was there cheering me on. These letters were definitely a good motivator of mine through the 46 hours.”

Danielle Emhof: Club Triathlon

Support for THON dancers comes from all over the world, and in Danielle Emhof’s case, from space! Yeah, you read that right. Former Illinois football coach and current NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins took the time to send Emhof a video congratulating her on her hard work and selflessness as a dancer.

“THON 2021 was unique, but it was still an amazing opportunity to show support to all of the Four Diamonds families,” Emhof said. “Throughout the weekend, I was shown tremendous support from my family and friends that sent letters, packages, and texts to keep me going.”

In the video shoutout, Hopkins shares some words of encouragement.

“Over the past week, we accomplished a couple of spacewalks, and the way I got through those was by focusing on the next step. So, don’t worry about those steps that are coming up in the next couple of hours — they’ll get here before you know it,” Hopkins said. “Best of luck and I admire your dedication to those that are battling cancer instead of getting to be kids.”

“This video was by far the coolest encouragement that I received throughout the weekend,” Emhof said.

She credited the video as being part of the reason why she and her partner remained motivated and shared that she was amazed at the reactions from those around her when they heard about the video from space.

Autumn Barber: IDC With Jacob Zeigler

Autumn Barber danced for her third year this THON and appreciated the loving messages from her friends more than ever. She was one of many who danced from her dorm room.

“Every year, I grow more and more in love with THON! This was my second year as a dancer and third year dancing/standing 46 hours,” Barber said. “I received these letters at the most unexpected time. I loved all the kind written words and typed words via text. I love my friends so much. They are always so supportive!”

Steph Totilo: Atlas

Something that makes dancing in THON a little bit easier, believe it or not, is actually dancing. Atlas dancer Steph Totilo received a thoughtful letter from her family members with an impressive list of dances to learn.

“Reading dancer mail from family and friends pushed me to get through the toughest parts of Sunday morning,” said Totilo. “In a pile of mail that brought me to tears, this letter put the biggest smile on my face and had me cracking up. There’s a lot of good dances on there we didn’t even get to try!”

Katelyn Lewis: SPSEA

Student Pennsylvania State Education dancer and future educator Katelyn Lewis received words of encouragement from her friends and family that gave her the motivation to keep going.

Her best friend wrote her this touching letter to remind Lewis that she was there with her every step of the way.

Lewis’s parents (and dog, pictured bottom center) sent her an adorable video montage letting her know how proud they are of her.

“Receiving my dancer mail was the biggest pick me up,” said Lewis. “It made my heart soar knowing that my favorite people were supporting and thinking of me even when I started to feel low.”

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About the Author

Lauren Wysseier

Lauren is a junior writer majoring in advertising from Fort Myers, Florida. She is a Floridian but, at heart, a Pennsylvanian. Her go-to fun fact is that she used to live in Barcelona, Spain. She is passionate about dogs, food, the Oxford comma, and most importantly, all-things Penn State. Don't hesitate to send her your best dog videos on Twitter @laurenwysseier or email [email protected] with other inquiries.

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