by Hanna Bernett

Above: Giulia Dini with the mom of AOII’s paired THON family

Giulia Dini is a senior Marketing student at Penn State, and this year she is representing her sorority Alpha Omicron Pi (AOII) as a dancer at THON Weekend! Giuila’s THON involvement began in high school through Mini-THON. As a Penn State first-year, she was on a Dancer Relations Committee and got to experience her first Penn State THON on the floor with her committee. The next year, after I joining her sorority, Giulia became the Family Relations Chair for seven amazing families- the Kerns, Hochbergers, Karolys, Van Aulens, Mowatts, Creagers, and Bushmans. “Through this role I formed relationships, and got our organization paired with a new THON family,” Giulia explained, “Since then I have been on our family relations, ribboning, and THON banquet committees to stay involved with AOII’s THON efforts.”

Like so many, Giulia has a very personal attachment to THON’s message. “I THON for my family members who have battled cancer, including my little sister Chiara. At six months old, Chiara got diagnosed with juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia and went into remission after five and a half years of cancer treatment. Our childhood was surrounded by hospitals and doctors making me more than familiar with the treatments, and trials that comes with pediatric cancer. After my sister went into remission, my family founded the JMML Foundation to fundraise research on this rare form of leukemia. From making Valentine’s day Baskets for JMML families to attending 5Ks, fundraising for cancer research has been in my family and I wanted to continue that pursuit in college. Through THON, I have been able to make more connections with families and continue fighting, to one day, find a cure.”

Giulia’s favorite THON memory is THON 2020 during Family Hour with her organization in the stands. “After spending months fundraising, getting to stand with my fellow THON Chairs, watching the memoir of the fallen angels, reminded everyone the importance of what we do,” she reminisced, “It is easy to get lost in planning events and encouraging our members to fundraise, but during that hour everyone just came together as a family

When asked what she is most looking forward to for THON 2022, Giulia couldn’t choose. “It is hard for me to even imagine being back in the BJC after THON being remote last year, but to summarize, I am looking forward to absolutely everything. Obviously the Pep Rally, Talent Show, and Final Four are going to be amazing to see and experience from the floor. Also the little things like doing laps around dancer storage, getting reminded to stretch by my DRCM, and doing the old line lances are so exciting to me. I am just so grateful to be able to experience a weekend on the floor that is important to so many people.”

“I hope to be able to get a glimpse of the personal struggle which pediatric cancer patients physically and mentally go through during their treatment. While I know it will never compare to what the kids endure, it will allow me to step into their shoes and remind myself the importance of finding a cure.”