‘It Feels More Special Each Time’: Family Celebrated At Penn State Football’s THON Game

Penn State football’s September 9 home game against Delaware may have marked the Nittany Lions’ second win of the year, but it also served as an important reminder: we dance in 156!

During the game, Penn State Lion Ambassadors coordinated students to form a yellow ribbon in addition to the class “S-Zone” to celebrate the annual THON game. The weekend denoted the second week of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and served as a testament to Penn State’s continuous commitment to bringing an end to the disease.

THON families were honored before the start of the game, and one family in particular experienced a once-in-a-lifetime moment. Shiloh Crimmel, a 7-year-old girl and pediatric cancer survivor, was celebrated as the game’s “Kickoff Kid” and given the opportunity to kick off the game in front of 108,575 people in attendance.

At four years old, Shiloh was diagnosed with B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), a type of blood cancer. The Crimmel family soon became acquainted with the Four Diamonds program as Shiloh began treatment. Her mother, Cindy, called the program “our first little brightness.”

Not long after starting treatment, Shiloh was paired with the Penn State Lionettes through the Four Diamonds’ Adopt-a-Family program. The Lionettes served as a resource for Shiloh throughout her treatment, often calling her when she took her medicine and when the family needed support. Since the pairing, the Crimmels have returned to Penn State numerous times, feeling “more special each time” they arrive in Happy Valley.

The family’s most recent homecoming with Shiloh on Saturday marked nearly three years since Shiloh rang the bell, signaling an end to her battle with cancer.

“It was super special and hard to put into words,” Cindy said of the Beaver Stadium experience.

Shiloh’s best friend, the Symbol of Our Best, served as a supportive pillar throughout her treatment and was there for the family to lean on as a companion and trusted supporter.

The family plans to never miss THON and remain involved with the Four Diamonds to serve as an inspiration to families still going through their individual journeys. Cindy believes in the power of the entire Penn State community and stated the importance of keeping the conversation going to empower every family affected.

Shiloh, now a champion of pediatric cancer, embodies unrivaled bravery and tells the story of the magic of THON in front of a packed Beaver Stadium and her biggest supporters: the Lionettes and the Nittany Lion.

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About the Author

Ryan Banks

Ryan is a junior from Latrobe, Pennsylvania majoring in Finance. He is a Pittsburgh sports fan and believes Kenny Pickett is 'the guy.' In his free time, he can be found running pickup soccer games or losing money day trading in his apartment. Any inquiries (or stock tips) can be sent via email to [email protected].

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