by Scott Katherine

Written by Dana Russell, Kayla Lebby, and Olivia Salupo 

This THON™ Weekend, Alex Hymel, a Senior at Penn State, is participating as a dancer. Alex is from Wayne, PA and is majoring in marketing, with a minor in French and International business. During the weekend, we had the chance to speak with Alex about her participation in THON.  

While interviewing Alex, we learned about her special connection to THON herself, as she was a childhood cancer survivor. When asked why she THONs, Alex said, “I am standing for families that are going through what my family went through.” Alex is dancing as an IDC with her roommate and close friend, Erika Long, who also has personal ties to childhood cancer. This THON campaign is extra special to this IDC, as 5 out of their 6 roommates are here dancing this weekend. Alex’s motivation for this weekend is all those who cannot be here dancing with us today, “I’m dancing for the kids who physically can’t stand for 46 hours whether they are here or not.” THON is an extreme challenge but for Alex, it is more a mental one than a physical one. Her experiences with cancer as a child are keeping her going, “I went through a lot when i was little and I was able to withstand all that treatment and get cured, knowing that there are so many other kids.” 

Lastly, Alex shared with us some stories about her experiences throughout her treatment and at Ronald McDonald House. She shares that Ronald McDonald House, held a camp every summer that allowed her and her friends who were facing the same challenges to, “be kids and do regular summer camp activities.” As Alex reflects on her time at the camp, she states, “Sadly, I have known many children who have come to the camp one summer and have not come back the next.” This memory is one that keeps her going throughout the 46-hour dance marathon.  

Alex’s story has motivated her to dance for this amazing cause. We ended the interview by asking Alex about her favorite dance move for the weekend. She told us just “a simple shake of the hips” has been fun for her.  

Featured Image: Kaitlyn Berkey | THON™ Photography