by Scott Katherine

By Ryan Murphy and Morgan Coccodrilli 

Owen Gesele is a part of the Club Gymnastics Organization, and he is a dancer participating in THON™ Weekend 2024. Owen’s club’s mission is to make gymnastics “as accessible to everyone as possible.” Being an intimidating and dangerous sport, Owen says it’s important to let people know they can participate and join the sport at any time if they have a passion for it. Outside of regular practices, Owen really enjoys hanging out with his teammates and grabbing meals together. To him, “they’re not only my teammates, but they’re my best friends and they’re my family.”  

A big fundraising push Club Gymnastics did was a 46-hour social media storm. For every hour, they posted gymnastics moves that corresponded with the current hour so for the first hour, they would post them doing 1 backflip. Hour 2 would be 2 cartwheels, and so on, until they reached 46 hours and 46 moves.  

This year, Club Gymnastics was able to invite their THON family, the Karloski’s, out to the THON 5K and according to Owen, “they were way more in shape than us,” and they invite the family to the gym from time to time.  

A favorite THON memory for Owen would be from last year and being able to go up on the stage and “take photos with our THON dancers.” Owen was his club’s THON Chair last year and he described the experience as seeing his “children being successful and having a great time.” Owen THONs because he believes that “the money we raise will one day find a cure” and he stood there with a smile on his face because “these 46-hours that we stand is nothing compared to what those kids go through.” Seeing the kids come out of treatment with a smile on their face makes Owen realize that he can smile for 46 hours. 
Owen’s favorite part about this weekend is the performances, especially Walk the Moon, as that is one of his favorite bands, “and even the cover bands that we have here are fantastic.” Owen’s favorite meal over the weekend was the Subway sandwiches. 

Owen and Club Gymnastics were able to interact with the Karloskis and their second THON family, the Damesheks, over the weekend. They gave the families stickers, and the kids were super energetic and excited. For Owen and Club Gymnastics, seeing the kids on the floor being super excited showed everyone “why we’re here and why we THON.” Owen is looking forward to lots of piggyback rides, to see more and more people come down to the floor with the scheduled passes, and for the Total Reveal.

Featured Image: Courtesy of Ryan Murphy