by Sadie Bagdasian

by Sadie Bagdasian

Phi Chi Theta is one of many business fraternities at Penn State. The org, known as PCT, has around 150 brothers and 3 pillars they associate with. These include Brotherhood, Philanthropy, and Professional. Although one might think efforts for THON fall under Philanthropy, PCT members see it as its own pillar.  

PCT has 3 Four Diamonds Families. However, they are more than 3 individual Four Diamonds Families, they are all part of the PCT family and they know it. They THON for Jackie, Savi, and Leiland. Jackie and Savi are both THON angels, but  their relationships with the families continue strong. Each year, with the exception of COVID, PCT organizes a picnic in York, PA giving them the time to connect with the Atterberry’s (Savi’s family)! PCT mostly stays in touch with the Mazurs (Jackie’s family) via email, text, and cards in the mail! PCT brothers find themselves spending the most time and having incredible relationships with Leiland, the sweet 5, almost 6-year old, who is 2.5 years in remission (3 years in May), and Logan, his incredible mom!  

This year Phi Chi Theta has 7 dancers – Sarah Hussain, Val Corby, Hannah McDermott, Quinn Speich, Will Robinson, Jenna Lotsis, and Kat Nelson. Although THON is looking different, they still plan on dancing for the full 46 hours, no sitting or no sleeping, but doing it FTK! The brotherhood is working together to ensure a fun and safe THON weekend for their dancers. Most importantly, they are doing this for their THON families and all of the other kids and families fighting for their lives. 

A group of people posing for a photo

Description automatically generated with medium confidence

Hannah McDermott, PCT’s THON director, overlooks all of their fundraisers, activities, events, and anything THON related. Hannah says her favorite part of her position is “watching PCT come together around such an amazing cause and seeing the things we can all achieve together.” This year, Hannah has worked closely with her THON Cchairs to ensure the THON efforts are better than last year, even given the circumstances. Hannah and the THON team were able to set up ribboning at the field every Friday and Saturday in the fall. This was a great way to bond as brothers, fundraise, and spread the light of THON.  

This year Hannah will be one of the 7 dancers for PCT and she says “I’m excited to have an extremely unique dancing experience driven solely by dancing for our families and every other child affected by childhood cancer. I’m dancing for my best friends from home who lost their older brother to pediatric cancer when they were 10 and he was 12. This year specifically I’m dancing because THONs mission is to support the kids no matter what and nothing will stop pct from doing everything we can for the kids.” 

Hannah, along with the majority of the brotherhood, contributes to THON’s year- long efforts of fundraising and spreading awareness. Over the years, PCT has carried on many fundraising traditions, but has also created new ones along the way. During the fall semester of 2020, brothers would ribbon at The Field on Friday’s and Saturday’s, spreading THON’s mission while fundraising. One alternative fundraiser includes a half marathon; this year it was run throughout State College in replacement of the Philly half marathon that has been run by brothers in the past. A few other alternative fundraisers include: bingo boards posted on social media, tyie dye, merch sales/auctions, fitness classes, and more!  

Emily Duddy, PCT’s Family Relations Director, maintains contact with PCT’s 3 THON families, plans events with the families, and organizes gifts for special occasions. Speaking as a member of PCT, Duddy seriously puts  their THON families above all else, shows her passion, and never fails to give the brotherhood updates on our families. Duddy says that her favorite part of holding this position “is getting the opportunity to form a personal and meaningful bond with each of our families and ensure they feel the love and support of our entire brotherhood.”  

Phi Chi Theta isn’t the only organization having difficulties navigating THON and seeing their families. Emily Duddy mentioned that even though that is the case and “unfortunately have not gotten to see our families in person as we usually would, it excites me that much more that we get to come up with new and unique ways to stay connected even when physically apart.” 

As a member of PCT, I love being surrounded by such enthusiastic, caring, and hard working individuals. THON is a part of who we are! So many of my PCT memories are related to THON. For example, in the photo below, we had the opportunity to go pumpkin picking with the Smith family last year. Following our pumpkin picking and corn maze, we decorated the pumpkins, ate pizza, and stood in a circle while Leiland ran around and gave every single brother a hug and high five.  

A group of people posing for a photo in front of a house

Description automatically generated

PCT THON’s for the Smiths, Atterberrys, and Mazurs. To read more about the PCT THON families visit our donor drive here. Thank you, FTK always!