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‘THON Is My Life’: Former Four Diamonds Child Dances In THON 2022

Sydney Bush knew she wanted to be a THON dancer since she was 3 years old. Despite never actively thinking about it growing up, she always felt it in her heart.

When she was just 2 years old, Bush was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Naturally, she lept at the chance to get involved with THON, especially from a young age.

Bush’s first THON was in 2006 when two independent dancers danced in her honor. The following year, she paired with Delta Sigma Pi, a business fraternity, and every year since then, she’s made the trip to the Bryce Jordan Center to reunite with all of her dancers.

“The impact that Four Diamonds and THON had on me personally was huge,” Bush said. “I don’t think I would be the person I am today without THON and Four Diamonds.”

These days, Bush is a freshman majoring in human development and family studies at Penn State Altoona with plans to transfer to University Park in the future. She always knew she’d end up at Penn State because THON was such a huge part of her life. All things considered, it was the only school she applied to.

Bush’s relationship with her THON dancers runs deeper than one might imagine. In fact, she was invited to one of her first dancer’s weddings a few years ago. Former Delta Sigma Pi dancers from 10 years ago are even coming back to the Bryce Jordan Center to see her dance this year.

She has been with her THON organization for 16 years, and every year, she meets new people who are incredibly passionate about childhood cancer.

“They try to understand what these families impacted by childhood cancer go through,” Bush said. “In the past, seeing that passion really motivated me. I want to give back. I want to help people like they helped me.”

When Bush was 5 and 6 years old, she remembers talking to different captains and carrying around their clipboards.

“I remember I would always ask them to play on their cell phones because, obviously, I was five and didn’t have a phone,” Bush said. “I was obsesesed with them. Hanging out with the family relations captain was a huge part when I was younger.”

Now, Bush loves seeing the family relations captains interact with the younger kids, as it brings her back to when she was in their shoes. She says these kids look up to the captains so much.

“No kid deserves to be impacted by cancer,” Bush said. “Seeing them be able to live a childhood that they deserve, even for just a weekend, is really moving, and I love it.”

Bush serves as a special events captain for Altoona benefitting THON. She helps plan all of its events and come up with fundraising ideas with her three other co-captains. Last year, she was a part of the mini-THON Student Leadership Council through Four Diamonds. She helped with video production, attended meetings, and more.

Going to THON, she realized that one day she wanted to be a captain — definitely at University Park.

This THON Weekend, Bush is excited to see all of her Four Diamonds friends, family, and the people coming back from her THON org. Last year, she didn’t have that opportunity because THON 2021 was virtual.

“People in high school referred to me as the Mini-THON girl. Now, I feel like I am ‘THON’ at Penn State because walking around campus, I wear this mask. No one else wears this,” Bush said while gesturing to her gold-ribboned mask.

“THON is everything to me,” Bush continued. “It’s passion. It’s hope. It’s the Four Diamonds, in general. It’s literally everything to me. THON is my life. It’s who I am.”

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About the Author

Colleen Nersten

Colleen is a junior biology major from York, Pa and is one of Onward State's associate editors. She overuses the ~tilde~ and aspires to be no other than the great Guy Fieri. You can find Colleen filling up her gas tank at Rutter’s, the ~superior~ Pennsylvania gas station. Please direct any questions or concerns to [email protected] For the hijinks, always.

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