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Sisters By Chance & THON Dancers By Choice: Sister Duo Takes On THON 2024

Alexa and Kayla Breisch always knew they wanted to dance together at THON 2024. 

As the sister duo entered its fourth year in Happy Valley, the pair knew dancing in THON was always a collective goal. Kayla and Alexa have had their own extensive THON journeys, but this year, they’re grateful to be given the opportunity to take part in the weekend in a whole new way. 

“We have always wanted to dance, and we always said senior year would be the year that we would do it. There’s no one else I would rather do it with. We had our own THON journeys, but we were always working toward the same goal,” Kayla said. “This year we really get to do that through fundraising and honoring our family and friends who are impacted by childhood cancer to show how proud we are of them.”

Applying as an independent dancer couple, the duo spent the last few months diligently raising money For The Kids. From holding fundraisers at their local pizza shop to hosting a caramel apple sale, the Breisch sisters raised funds while connecting with their community and loved ones.

Both Kayla and Alexa are seasoned veterans when it comes to THON involvement. The sisters have been heavily involved in THON since their first years at Penn State when committee meetings took place via Zoom.

Even though her first experience with THON was virtual, Alexa still made life-long friendships and met so many new students. Her involvement on the Dancer Relations committee the following year helped encapsulate Alexa’s full-circle experience as she looks back on the early years of her work with and for THON.

“My first year, I was on a Rules and Regulations committee, and that was virtual, but that was the highlight of my week, and I made the best friends that year just through those Zoom calls,” Alex said. “The next year, I was on [Dancer Relations], and I loved helping the dancers and being their supporters, cheering them on and seeing all perspectives from the floor. So I am so excited to be on the other side of that now and get that full-circle perspective.”

Kayla had her own unique THON journey as a captain for the past two years on the Donor Relations committee and even running her own committee of students. It was special to craft her own community within the large THON network and lead a group of dedicated students the entire weekend.

“Obviously THON has an incredible culture, but I was able to build my own little community which was so cool,” Kayla said. “That THON Weekend was so cool because I got to be on the floor more and give tours to donors, families, and parents. This year, I am also a Donor Relations captain again on Alumni Engagement, so I get to talk with more of the alumni and spread awareness that way, and go to Hershey Medical to tour. Now I am dancing, so I am definitely living the dream.”

Considering the pair’s long legacy with the organization, finding out they were selected to dance in THON 2024 was a moment to remember. The sisters diligently used the power of manifestation and positivity to collectively channel the “congratulations” email in their inboxes. 

Alexa was at a clinical day at Hershey Medical when she got the email that she and Kayla were selected to dance in THON. Working at Hershey Medical Center for the past few months for her nursing degree, Alexa has seen the impact of THON’s donations and experience the lifesaving power of dancing for the cure in real time. Despite the pair being geographically separated at the time, they both celebrated the good news when they reunited in Happy Valley. 

“I saw the email first at a clinical observation day, and I checked my phone and saw the big congrats. I knew I needed to text Kayla right that second, and later she saw it,” Alex shared. “But it was hard being that we both were not here when we both found out, but once I saw her back in State College, I gave her a huge hug and we celebrated then.” 

While some siblings would never volunteer to spend 46 hours locked in a building together, the sisters knew they wouldn’t want to dance with anyone else. With Kayla in State College and Alexa in Hershey, Kayla is excited to use the time in the Bryce Jordan Center to catch up with her sister and spend some much-needed time together. 

“I think people are actually amazed at how well we get along, and now that we have been separated while she has been at Hershey, it will be nice to be together and spend more time together,” Kayla said. “Every time we look at each other, we just laugh without even meaning to, so I think it will just be reassuring to have her there. She’s my best friend, so I know I will always have that support system, and we don’t normally get into fights, so I think we will have each other’s backs. I really think it will be a great experience.”

As if the family bond wasn’t strong enough, Alexa and Kayla’s younger sister and family will also join the pair on the floor throughout THON Weekend. In her second year on a dancer relations committee, the youngest Breisch sister will visit and check up on Alexa and Kayla during her shifts on the floor. Alexa said her parents are also excited to take part in the weekend and will get to experience the indescribable atmosphere of THON. 

“It’s really exciting because we also have a younger sister here who is actually on Dancer Relations this year, and she will be a big supporter for us. So three of us are all on the floor,” Alexa said. “Our parents are also going to be coming and they are so excited to be on the floor to support us as well as some of our really good friends. They are going to be up at crazy hours just like us, and we are so excited.” 

However, as they enter the Bryce Jordan Center and prepare for the 46-hour marathon ahead, the duo is most looking forward to meeting their paired family, the Braden Fleagle family.

Braden’s story and immense spirit have inspired both Alexa and Kayla greatly, as his story of battling cancer will be the biggest source of motivation for the sisters throughout the weekend.

The pair cannot wait to see the entire strength and power of the Bryce Jordan Center throughout the 46 hours and will certainly never forget this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to dance For The Kids.

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About the Author

McKenna Murphy

McKenna is a second-year agricultural science major from Bucks County, Pennsylvania. She is a Disney enthusiast, a proud ginger, and an iced coffee addict. You can follow her on Instagram @mckenna.murph or email her at [email protected].

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