For Kara Hogan (age 10), her brother Kyle (age 14) and her family, the weekend was a celebration of a number of positive milestones in 2015. Kara, who was first diagnosed with an extremely rare form of leukemia a few years ago, endured months of chemotherapy and related medicines and treatments. With the support of professionals at Hershey Medical Center, she has recently been able to return to the life of a normal 10 year old, and is excelling in school with high honors and at horseback riding.
For Jerry, the experience was surreal.
'One thing that I will never forget is that I was able to stay on my feet at all times while in the BJC. Painful? Absolutely. Challenging? Yes.' recalled Jerry. 'But when you realize the 706 students selected to carry the torch 'for the kids' over the course of 46 hours, you realize that your own discomfort and pain is meant to be a reminder of all the kids who fought, are still fighting, and those who may soon begin the fight to beat childhood cancer. My pain was worth it!'
Alongside a number of other VIP perks, the Hogan Family received an opportunity to meet members of the Penn State football team and coaches and to tour various facilities. Kara was even able to secure autographs for brother Kyle, who was unable to attend.
'The privilege to be part of the Hogan family over those hours at THON was one that I will cherish forever.' said Jerry.
The Southern Finger Lakes Chapter of the Penn State Alumni Association serves students, alumni, and communities based in the southern region of upstate New York in ways such as networking, volunteering, philanthropy, and football-related initiatives.
THON (www.thon.org) is the largest student‐run philanthropy. It benefits the Four Diamonds Fund at Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital. The Four Diamonds assists children being treated for cancer and their families through superior care, comprehensive support and innovative research. Since 1977, THON has raised more than $114 million for the Four Diamonds and the fight to conquer pediatric cancer.