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Penn State Nursing Student Dances In THON 2023 To Represent Friends, Family, & Patients

Hannah Lochan’s life revolves around the fight against pediatric cancer.

When she was young, Lochan worked with charities that fought pediatric cancer, including Relay For Life and Wigs For Kids. Flash forward to her senior year of college, and she’s been involved with the Student Nurses’ Association at Penn State (SNAPS) for the last four years and danced for the organization. When she graduates from Penn State, Lochan will work with pediatric cancer patients, a job that she says will be as rewarding as it is difficult.

Lochan’s first encounter with cancer came before she was born when two of her grandparents died from the disease. Lochan’s aunt and cousin are also breast cancer survivors, a battle that they went through during her lifetime. The pair are an important part of why she’s been so devoted to THON and chose to dance in 2023.

“They always support me throughout the past three years and this year, whether it be just kind words or encouraging words,” Lochan said. “Just hearing how much they support and care about me…it’s just so amazing.”

Still, Lochan’s most profound experiences with cancer have come from THON. She worked with SNAPS since she first arrived on campus, spending time as the group’s Family Relations Chair her sophomore year and the Hershey Chair from Penn State’s Hershey Medical Center during her junior year.

As part of her work with SNAPS, Lochan also partnered with two children supported by THON, who she says pushed her during the dance marathon.

“Seeing one of my THON kids, Ryan, ring the bell last year in October brought tears to my eyes. They are my inspiration,” Lochan said. “These two boys are like brothers to me, and I would do anything for them. We tease each other and mess around, but at the end of the day, it all comes from a place of love. Having them at THON this year as I danced for them meant the world to me. Their journeys and strength are such an inspiration to me.”

When Lochan graduates from Penn State this spring, she’ll continue her work as a pediatric hematology-oncology nurse. In other words, she’s essentially a nurse who will work closely with those affected by childhood cancer.

“When I tell people that I hope to be a pediatric hematology-oncology nurse, they always reply with ‘That’s such a sad field,’ and my reply is always ‘Yes, it is. But it can also be a happy one,'” Lochan said. “I hope that as a nurse, I will be able to provide empathy, support, comfort, and care to my patients and their families during one of, if not the, most difficult times of their lives.”

Despite the difficulties of her career path, Lochan hopes she’ll continue to make a difference against pediatric cancer. She’s passionate about what she does and is looking forward to what’s to come.

“I tell everyone I know that they should pursue and do a job that makes them happy, and for me, I can see myself waking up every morning excited to see my patients and grateful for another day and opportunity to try to make their days and lives the slightest bit better,” Lochan said.

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About the Author

Joe Lister

Joe is a junior journalism major at Penn State and an associate editor at Onward State. He covers Penn State football and enjoys yelling on Twitter about Philadelphia/Penn State sports. He also listens to Mac Miller more than you. If you want to find him, Joe's usually watching soccer with his shirt off or at the gym with his shirt on. Please send all positive affirmations and/or hate mail toward him on Twitter (iamjoelister) or via email ([email protected]).

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