It was THON-tastic

By on February 27, 2019

 

Last weekend’s THON 2019, Penn State’s student-run philanthropy project, devoted to strengthening the lives of children and families impacted by childhood cancer, featured thousands at the annual, 46-hour, no-sitting, no-sleeping dance marathon. Photo by Crystal Bryan-Munoz

Last weekend’s THON 2019, Penn State’s student-run philanthropy project, devoted to strengthening the lives of children and families impacted by childhood cancer, featured thousands at the annual, 46-hour, no-sitting, no-sleeping dance marathon. Photo by Crystal Bryan-Munoz

 

 

‘We have been blessed’

Michael Palm and Crystal Bryan-Muñoz’s have gone from ‘patients to participants’ at THON, Penn State University’s enormous philanthropy dedicated to childhood cancer research and enhancing the lives of families and children dealing with cancer.

Palm, now a senior at PSU, was diagnosed with cancer at the age of six. The Palm family has been attending THON for 15 years. Michael’s sister, Erin, was a dancer in 2017. This past THON, held on Feb. 15 through 17, provided Michael with another opportunity to support the charity that supported him when he was young.

This year, the Palm family had the opportunity to take the stage during “Family Hour” to tell their story to participants.

Recently married Crystal Bryan-Muñoz’s passion for THON is the result of “discovering that when cancer treatments end, the fight to end the disease does not.”

The 2002 Cocalico High School graduate documented her experience in State College also with her family at THON 2019.

Penn State’s student-run philanthropy project is capped off by an annual, 46-hour, no-sitting, no-sleeping dance marathon.

Bryan-Muñoz’s roller coaster ride and 29-month battle with childhood cancer started at age 11.

She said there’s been many ups, downs and “crazy loops” in that battle.

“It’s definitely been the most defining ride of my life,” said Bryan-Muñoz’s, who now lives in Lititz.

Michael Palm, with his girlfriend, Lainey.

Michael Palm, with his girlfriend, Lainey.

“We have been blessed,” wrote Barb Palm, Michael’s mother, in an email to The Ephrata Review. “Michael is a healthy young man ready to tackle the world. We have been blessed by the wonderful relationships we have made along the way. We have been blessed by THON and the Four Diamonds Fund as we never saw one bill for Michael’s treatment!”

A friend of Bryan-Muñoz’s recently offered a quote which she likes to share and live by.

“I love when people that have been through hell walk out of the flames carrying buckets of water for those still consumed by the fire,” Bryan-Muñoz’s quoted.

A photographer and a mother of five, she attended THON with her husband Luis Muñoz’s, a former THON 1998 Captain and PSU alumni.

Also attending were their children Layla Bryan,13, Ethan Muñoz’s 14, Ava Bryan, 7, Logan Bryan, 9, and Abby Muñoz

Crystal said her passion for THON is reinforced and driven by the desire to never “hear the words my child has cancer.”

Aubree Fahringer is the Cocalico editor for The Ephrata Review.

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