THON Family Carnival Raises Spirits for Upcoming Dance Marathon

By Mallory Lane

Published 12/08 2013 05:48PM

Updated 12/08 2013 05:57PM

PENN STATE, UNIVERSITY PARK - It was a big day of celebration at Penn State Sunday as the 18th annual THON Family Carnival got underway.

Hundreds of Penn State students and Four Diamonds families visited the university's main campus for the festivities.

"It's just a warm up of good things to come," Tim Hamman, of Petersburg, said.

It's a day Tim Hamman's son, Clay, always looks forward to.

"They've been there for us from day one and we met a lot of good people," Tim said. "Clay gets to do a lot of positive things."

Clay was diagnosed with liver cancer in 2005. Three months after treatment, a routine CAT Scan found another tumor, this time, on his right lung.

Now, he's a two-time survivor.

"One exact year to his diagnosis and he was deemed cancer-free," Tim said. "It's been eight years, last September 28th, that he's been cancer-free."

Tim's noticed a change in his son.

"At first, he was sort of secluded, to himself," he said. "Through the eight years, I"m sure the majority of it has to do with meeting a lot of people."

One for the better, thanks to THON.

"I think it's really helped his social development and it's going to continue, I'm sure," Tim said. "Hopefully we're helping them, too."

"It's been amazing," Family Carnival Captain, Mick Gallagher, said. "You can't really describe it."

Gallagher sees the changes, too.

"When the kids are here, you know you're making a difference and you're really kind of taking them away from their sickness for the day," he said. "It's a really great atmosphere."

"The family's, they need it," Tim said. "They need it. It's a lot of help. We look forward to it every year and we'll always come back."

THON 2014 will run February 21-23. This year's theme is "Redefine the Possibilities."

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