by Molly Ligon

Written by: Lucas Manion and Georgia Curtis

Before she became a Digital Campaign Manager at The New York Times, Taylor Milano was a dedicated THON™ volunteer and even danced at THON™ during her senior year in 2015. Milano was extremely involved in her organization, FOTO, during her time at Penn State.  

When interviewing Milano, I could instantly tell that she had a deep passion for THON™ and its mission (Curtis). She started at Penn State’s Harrisburg campus and was involved in THON™ during her time at Harrisburg. She went on canning trips and made visits to University Park for THON-related events, such as the THON 5K Powered by PNC, THON Weekend, and more. Milano said that even though she was far away, she still felt “really involved in something great” (Milano). Once she transferred to University Park during her junior year, Milano joined the special interest org FOTO. In her senior year, she was chosen to be the media tech officer for FOTO. As the media tech officer, Milano was in charge of managing FOTO’s website, running it’s social media pages, making recap videos for THON™, and much more. Milano’s hard work and dedication to THON™ were evident as she was chosen by her organization to be a dancer for THON™ weekend during her senior year (2015). She said that her experience dancing felt unreal. Milano also mentioned that “It was super challenging,” but when people ask her what her proudest moment is, she says that “it was dancing in THON”. 

Although Milano’s favorite THON memory was dancing her senior year, another impactful moment she had was getting to visit one of THON’s Four Diamonds families. She mentioned that one day, she and five others visited a boy who was in remission. Milano mentioned that it was so impactful for her because not only did it make the boy’s day, but it also encouraged the mom so much. “Being able to just take the stress and the pain… off their minds for a second was amazing… It’s moments like that [I think], ‘This is why we do this.’ But being able to interact with our THON™ kids… and see where your work really goes to and how it helps made everything so worth it… dancing was just like the cherry on top of everything” (Milano).  

Even though Milano graduated in 2015, it is clear that THON still holds a very special place in her heart and has had a tremendous impact on her life. The work Milano was able to do as a THON™ volunteer has helped her career path progress and has changed her perspective on life. It has helped her to realize that she can do anything. When asked what advice she would give to any volunteers involved in THON today Milano offered this advice: “Enjoy every single second. It goes by quicker than you will ever think. Go out of your way to meet Four Diamonds Families. [It] completely changes your perspective”. And finally, when asked if there was anything she would like to add, Milano emphasized how happy she was that THON was “really back in full swing” and that she “can’t wait to see what’s raised this year”.