by Scott Katherine

Written by Paige Moore, Cecily Battaglia, and Matt Thierer

Penn State THON™ is an experience that brings together families and volunteers to create and share joyful memories within the THON Community. We have certain members of the THON Community who seek out the stories of the Four Diamonds families we support to ensure that they have a chance to share their experience with all of our volunteers. These stories motivate us to do whatever we can to ultimately make childhood cancer a thing of the past. Catey Ackerman is a Public Relations Captain, studying as an English major, and is passionate about THON’s mission. Through her role this year as the Publication Management Writer, she is happier than ever to be working closely with many Four Diamonds families and to be making her impact on the THON community seeing first hand how these families benefit from THON.  

We asked Catey the following questions about her current position and experience with THON: 

Can you explain what you do in your position to work with these families? 

Catey is this years Publication Management Writer. She explained to us that in this position she works heavily with many different Four Diamonds families. So far, Catey has done six family stories where she interviews the families and asks them different questions about their experience with childhood cancer. “Thankfully most families have children off treatment” Catey said. But she knows that childhood cancer is still something you have to deal with after the treatment, which she has gained much awareness about through her time in this position. 

What is your favorite part about your position? 

As an English major Catey is already very passionate about writing. Family stories are a large part of her position experience and getting to write them is something she really enjoys. After being a Committee Member for the past three years, Catey feels as though she’s landed in the right place for herself this year. Catey told us, “The biggest part of THON for me has been the families. So getting hands on interaction has been a privilege.”  

Do you have a specific favorite memory or experience with any family? 

Catey has had the pleasure to meet numerous Four Diamonds families. At each interview she has listened to the families share their stories and the impact that the Penn State community has had on them. Two stories specifically stood out to Catey, the Gus Bombgardner family story and the Adley Gordon family story. Catey said, “Getting to speak with Gus’s mom was very inspiring and left a huge impact on me. She is able to run her own business while taking care of Gus and all of his treatments. Another family story that has had an impact of me is the Adley Gordon family. I immediately started following Adley’s Instagram page called Adley’s Adventure after I interviewed their family. I love to look at each of their posts and stay updated with their family.” 

Catey enjoys and cherishes every moment that she gets to spend with families. Getting to learn more about their story and experience dealing with childhood cancer is something she will never forget. We are thankful for her and everyone else that works to provide family stories to the THON Community! 

Header Photo: credit to Jared Freed