Many students at Red Lion High School look forward to attending Mini-THON each spring. As a chair of this year’s Mini-THON, it is encouraging to know that students are excited to participate in the games and activities of our event. As a Four Diamonds Child, however, Mini-THON holds a different meaning.
The summer after my fifth birthday, my parents noticed a significant decrease in my appetite and an increase in my thirst. My need to drink superseded all else.
Confused and worried, my parents took me to many doctors, but no one could understand the cause of my symptoms.
I went for seven months only drinking and not eating. At the age of five, I barely weighed 25 pounds.
Finally, I went to a feeding therapist. After meeting a few times, he didn’t feel I had an eating disorder and ordered an MRI of my brain. The MRI showed a mass in my brain, attached to my pituitary gland.
The damage the mass inflicted on this gland was caused by an uncommon disorder called Diabetes Insipidus or DI. This means that I am unable to control my water. I have to take medication several times a day to control it.
After I went to an oncologist, it was decided that I would need a brain biopsy. Through the biopsy, I learned that I have a rare cancer, Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis or LCH.
I was ten when I experienced my first Red Lion Mini-THON. That was the year that Red Lion gave the money raised from Mini-THON in my honor.
When I arrived at the high school to tell my story, some of the students greeted me and swept me off to introduce me to the rest of the committee. After I gave my speech, I stood in the middle of the gym, surrounded by high school students, and sang “Mine” by Taylor Swift.
The excitement and enthusiasm of the students overwhelmed my senses and I was in awe. That’s when I knew I wanted to be a part of Red Lion’s Mini-THON.
Once I was well, it was our mission to do all that we could to give back to the Fund and the families battling cancer.
My brother, Carter, was equally as eager to become part of Mini-THON. I watched him, for two years, work and plan for the Night of Mini-THON. In turn, I was honored when I became a committee member, and this year, a chair.
As I plan and work on Mini-THON I always hold my personal reasons for continuing to “THON” For The Kids close to my heart. This past summer a fellow friend and Four Diamonds Child died from cancer at the age of 19. We spent many THONs together and we supported her Mini-THON in Dover when she was a chair.
I couldn’t imagine waiting until I was able to attend Penn State as a college student to be a part of a community that wants to do all it can For The Kids.
As I was undergoing treatments, the energy and the love from Mini-THONs and THON lifted my spirits, made me feel special, and made me feel like a normal kid.
Today, I Mini-THON so that no child feels alone. I continue to work and plan for Mini-THON so that other kids can experience the same joy and inspiration that I did as a fourth grader.