special_events
Alyssa Bielinski
she/her

Special Events Director

4th Year Student
Hometown: Scranton, PA
Major: Rehabilitation and Human Services

Previous THON Involvement

THON 2019: Rules & Regulations Committee Member
THON 2020: Rules and Regulations Committee Member
THON 2021: Special Events Captain (Closer to a Cure Celebration)

Why did you want to become a member of the THON 2022 Executive Committee?

THON has transformed my life in more ways than one. I was naïve enough to think that I would attend college, obtain a degree, and move on as if those 4 years were just pages added to my story. I never expected to find my purpose in life during freshman year of college, but I was proved wrong after the first day I spent as a volunteer within this organization. Even after having the privilege of being a committee member, captain, organization member, and dancer, my passion to do more for this community has only continued to grow. I have been endlessly inspired by each individual family and volunteer that I have met, helping me realize that I too could contribute to connecting all THON Volunteers with one another and our families in a meaningful way. I have woken up each day with an even stronger desire to see our mission make its way into the hearts of many across the world, and to continue our fight against childhood cancer, together as one. The THON Community has been my home away from home these past four years, and as a director, I hope to emulate that feeling to everyone I meet as we stand alongside one another on our quest for a cure.

What are your main responsibilities for THON 2022?

As the Special Events Director, I have the honor of working alongside the 17 Captains on my committee to provide our Four Diamonds families and the THON Community with opportunities to live out THON's mission all year long. I oversee the planning, logistics, and execution of all pre- and post-THON Weekend events, including the THON 5K powered by PNC, 100 Days 'Til THON, Family Carnival, THON Athletic Events, the THON Showcase, No Hair Don't Care, and the Closer to a Cure Celebration. The Special Events Committee is committed to ensuring that the magic and excitement of THON Weekend is felt throughout all 365 days of the year by creating lifelong memories for volunteers and Four Diamonds families at events. We continuously look for new and innovative ways to engage the THON Community and connect them with our families who are the forefront of all we do.

What is your favorite THON memory?

As I continue to grow as a volunteer within this organization, it becomes increasingly difficult to pick just one amazing moment out of the thousands that will live in my heart forever. From every Four Diamond's family I found immense strength from, to the resilience of every student volunteer and stakeholder—this organization has changed me forever. With that being said, my most profound memory spanned across 46 hours as I was given the opportunity to dance in THON 2021 as a part of an Independent Dancer Couple. Not being able to be in the BJC and feeling the infectious energy of our families and other volunteers was difficult, but it allowed me to see THON for what it really is and all of the magic it emulates to everyone involved. From jumping around in my living room at 6 a.m. doing the line dance, getting to be on zoom calls with families and friends, embracing my dancer partner as we cried during the final four hours, and so much in between—I will never have the words to express my gratitude to this organization and how much it has given me over the years. I was truly able to see that THON will never be solely associated as being confined to the walls of a building on our campus. It has never been and never will be constricted to one person, one town, or one state. The mission of THON is a magical feeling, and this weekend in its entirety instilled an everlasting sense of passion in me to give every last effort I have in the fight against childhood cancer. Those 46 hours of pure joy, bubbly laughter, endless smiles and continued hope spoke volumes to me about the sense of belonging and family that THON fosters to students and Four Diamonds families alike.

What are you most looking forward to for THON 2022?

As we plan for all of our events this upcoming year, I am most excited to expand upon our digital engagement platforms in order to make most if not all our events into a hybrid space. Although much of our student volunteer base is located in State College, it is of upmost importance to utilize this platform to connect with all of our Four Diamonds families and any other volunteer or stakeholder who is not located in the area. By doing so, we will be able to catapult our mission across the world, fostering an even larger community that can come together in support of our families. Although the world has faced immense hardship and uncertainty over the course of the last year, we know that cancer does not stop, and therefore the THON Community will not either. In a time where we are so deeply craving an ounce of togetherness and unity, we will continue act as an everlasting home for our families to find comfort in. We will persist in navigating every obstacle and every idea presented to us to be as inclusive and present as possible in the lives of our families and supporters.

What is your favorite quote?

“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure if the storm is really over. But one thing is certain... When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm is all about.” —Haruki Murakami

What are you involved in outside of THON?

Camp Kesem

What are your plans after graduating from Penn State?

I plan to continue my education to pursue a Master's Degree in occupational therapy and become a pediatric occupational therapist.