Leah Byman and Susanna Walter are members of Women in Business and this is their first-time dancing at THON. To prepare to be a dancer they started working out and they made sure they are eating well and drinking enough water. Since they are both graduating this year, they are sad to see this is their last THON. They say even though they can go back to THON as much as they want, it is not going to be the same as doing it in an organization as a student. They think being able to dance in this year’s THON is really special because we are all still making such a big difference and making a statement that we are trying to find a cure no matter what.
Susanna Walter is a third-year student graduating this summer with a major in Supply Chain Management. Being from State College, Pennsylvania, THON was something she always heard about and she knew she wanted to get involved even before coming to Penn State. When she was a freshman, her friends encouraged her to join Women in Busines and the first opportunity she had as a leadership position there was to be a part of the THON Committee. She says it combined both of the things she wanted to do. She also became the primary THON chair for WIB a year after that and get to build meaningful friendships there. When she was in high school one of her friends was diagnosed with pediatric cancer right before they graduated, and her friend ended up being a THON child for WIB. She stated it was so cool that she went from having her as a friend back in high school not knowing how to help her through that situation to being able to do something this big in order to support her and her family and everybody else going through a similar situation. THON has been something that is super meaningful for her and something that affected her whole college experience. She wanted to be a dancer at THON since when she was a freshman. She feels lucky that she was able to still give everything that she can for the kids and THON families this year. She thinks even though it is not the same experience, it means just as much to THON families and to the whole THON community.
Leah Byman is a senior majoring in Supply Chain Management. She is in the 2+2 program, so she was a part of THON her sophomore year in her branch campus and she says THON was almost like a club there. When she came to the University Park campus her junior year, she knew she wanted to take a bigger role in THON. She decided to join WIB that year and went to THON to support WIB dancers even though she wasn’t directly a part of it. She THON because cancer has touched different parts of her life. Her dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer her sophomore year of college. Thankfully, he is currently in remission. Her best friend from high school got diagnosed with thyroid cancer this past December, and her aunt got diagnosed with kidney cancer this year. Even though she is dancing for the kids, she is also dancing for all 3 of them. One of the reasons she still wants to THON this year is because cancer doesn’t stop despite the pandemic. She is grateful that THON was still happening despite all odds. She says just because the world stopped, it does not stop the cancer and the people in her life are still getting affected by it. As a result, she really wanted to continue doing this even though it is from her apartment and she is dancing to line dance from there. “I am doing my part to try to continue the mission and the purpose of THON as much as it can be this year which is again a great honor.”
Thank you so much to Susanna and Leah for taking the time to interview with us and sharing their personal stories. We wish them the best and congratulate them on dancing for THON 2021!