When the theme of THON 2013 was announced in the fall semester, dancer Kelly Giordano had no idea how soon the THON community would “Inspire Tomorrow’s Miracles.”
“I didn’t know they meant miracles were going to happen tomorrow,” she said.
Twenty-four hours after the end of the Interfraternity Council/Panhellenic Dance Marathon, her sorority Alpha Delta Pi and partner fraternity Theta Delta Chi were informed that the newest addition to their Four Diamonds Family, Gavin Howe, 6, was in remission.
Gavin’s father Jeff Howe said Gavin has acute lymphoblastic leukemia and will continue to undergo chemotherapy to prevent relapse. Jeff said his family contacted the hospital Monday after THON to inquire about the results of a bone marrow biopsy. The hospital called back to inform the family that Gavin is in remission.
Jeff said when he and his family arrived at the Bryce Jordan Center at about 6 p.m. Saturday, they "felt so welcomed." Gavin had been in the hospital Saturday morning, before his family made its journey to the BJC that evening.
"[THON] is one of the most awesome experiences we've had," he said.
For him, his favorite part of the weekend was seeing "the way the college students interacted with the kids," saying that his children are usually shy at first, but it took no time before they were running around on the floor.
Dancer Chris Murray, THON chair for Theta Delta Chi, said his organization and its partner sorority were paired with the Gavin Howe family about two weeks before THON weekend. He said Alpha Delta Pi then immediately contacted the family.
“We were going to be there for them as much as possible,” he said.
Murray (junior-economics and marketing) said meeting the family while he was dancing on the floor was “inspiring.”
“[It] reminded us of why we [dance],” he said.
Giordano (senior-supply chain management) also danced with Murray and others from their organizations. She said women in her sorority told her that the family had arrived, and when she turned around, the whole family was standing there. She said the dancers immediately clicked with the family and began having water gun fights with the children for more than an hour.
“Seeing them so happy made everything so much better,” she said.
Giordano added that the family came back Sunday, but because Gavin wasn’t feeling well, the family remained in the stands.
Murray also said that seeing the smile on their faces “could make you cry.”
When he received the email saying Gavin is now in remission, he said he was “blown away” that “a miracle like that could happen 24 hours after.”
Although Robert Ayes (junior-marketing and political science), secretary for Theta Delta Chi, has not had personal contact with the family, he said Gavin’s remission is “what THON means to everyone here.”
“We’re all very thankful for being a part of each others’ lives,” he said.