February 16, 2013 at 1:54 AM
The McAskill family is living proof that the Four Diamonds Fund and THON stay with people long after they leave Penn State.
Sarah McAskill, former assistant director of development for the Four Diamonds, brought her family in from Florida for the dance marathon.
“Working with children with cancer on a daily basis was so inspiring,” she said. “I’m so thrilled to be back.”
This is the first time Sarah has experienced THON in the Bryce Jordan Center. The larger venue makes a huge difference for the families in terms of feeling the love and support, she said.
“I was overwhelmed to see it grow to this level,” she said. “It’s not surprising. The ingredients of THON - the students, families and university - allow for this type of success.”
Sarah’s husband, Stephen, danced in THON in 1997 when he was in medical school. He was the first non-undergraduate student to dance for 46 hours.
“I was 30 years old,” he recalled. “The slogan on the back on my shirt was ‘Older than THON.’”
Stephen danced then in memory of 10-year-old Jordan Amdt.
“Although he lost his battle to cancer, his spirit lives on and we feel him here tonight,” he said.
The McAskill’s daughter, Emma, was just 11 weeks old when she attended her first THON. Her father danced with her in his arms, giving him the nickname “Dancin’ Daddy.”
Sarah admits that one of the reasons for bringing her children back is to get them interested in attending Penn State.
“Truly, the Four Diamonds have helped us with our faith and priorities when it comes to raising our children,” Sarah said.
“We can climb mountains and cross oceans,” Stephen said, “but there is still no greater achievement than THON.”