Backed by $20,000 donation, Hazleton duo eager to experience magic of THON

Two female students making diamond shape with their hands in front of a Nittany Lion statue.

Kendall Lobb, left, and Cheyenne Ney will represent Penn State Hazleton at THON Weekend 2024.

Credit: Penn State

HAZLETON, Pa. — With just hours to go until THON Weekend 2024, the pride of representing Penn State Hazleton — and the entire Penn State student community — during the world's largest student-run philanthropy is sinking in for Kendall Lobb and Cheyenne Ney.

Both said they are eager and excited heading into what they expect to be one of their most memorable experiences as Penn State students.

“After finding out we were selected there was so much excitement, and now that it’s almost here, I’m even more excited, but definitely a little nervous, too,” said Ney, a first-year physical therapist assistant major from Lykens.

Nerves aside, Ney is looking forward to an experience that only a select number of Penn State Hazleton students get to take part in each year. Best of all, she said, is what THON stands for.

“I love being able to be part of something that helps and supports so many people,” she said.

Lobb, a second-year psychology major from Pen Argyl, said she is dancing for 46 hours straight to not only represent Penn State Hazleton, but all the campus groups and activities she takes part in.

“In addition to what I do with THON, I’m also a Lion Ambassador and play on the softball team,” she said. “When I’m out there, I’m not just dancing for me. I’m bringing awareness to all these other great activities, too.”

Along with the excitement of sharing the dance floor with more than 700 other passionate Penn Staters, Lobb and Ney are eager to experience THON’s special moments with the campus’ THON family, the Blanchards.

Five-year-old Remington “Remy” Blanchard, from Annville in Lebanon County, was diagnosed with neuroblastoma as a toddler but is no longer undergoing treatment. Lobb and Ney will meet Remy and his family in person for the first time at THON.

"Meeting them and being able to take in all those special moments together is going to be so amazing and so memorable,” Lobb said. “I can’t wait.”

Lobb and Ney have been ramping up their preparation in recent weeks, making sure to stretch and stay hydrated. They’ve also been seeking the advice of fellow Penn State Hazleton Benefitting THON member and one of last year’s dancers, Tori Rabuck.

“We’ve gotten advice about trying to keep moving as much as possible, so we don’t tire out. Even just walking laps with headphones in,” Ney said.

In addition to getting their minds and bodies ready, Lobb and Ney, along with the rest of Penn State Hazleton Benefitting THON, spent months fundraising.

Efforts included a designer purse and gift card bingo in October, campus-wide T-shirt sale in December, and the annual “Three’s for THON” night during the Jan. 30 men’s and women’s home basketball games.  

Other clubs and organizations have even stepped up to help, like the Game Club, which hosted a 24-hour video game tournament with a portion of the proceeds going to Penn State Hazleton Benefitting THON.

Its largest contribution, however, was a $20,000 donation from the Joseph F. Umosella Family Foundation. Nicole Umosella attended Penn State Hazleton from 2006-2008, where she was chairperson of the morale and events committees for Penn State Hazleton Benefitting THON. She remained involved in THON after transitioning to University Park, where she earned a degree in hotel, motel and restaurant management.

“Generous donations like the gift from the Joseph F. Umosella Family Foundation help make a difference in the lives of children and families impacted by pediatric cancer by offsetting costs of treatments, funding research and spreading awareness of THON’s mission,” Director of Student Services and Engagement Tracy Garnick said. “We are grateful for this support and for the kindness of all those who have donated to this year’s effort.”

Garnick added that supporters can continue to support Lobb, Ney and Penn State Hazleton Benefitting THON by donating online.

THON begins at 6 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 16, at the Bryce Jordan Center at Penn State's University Park campus. A livestream can be viewed at

The largest student-run philanthropy in the world, Penn State THON features thousands of volunteers who are committed to improving the lives of children and families impacted by childhood cancer. THON comprises over 16,500 Penn State student volunteers who aim to provide emotional and financial support to Four Diamonds families, spread the organization’s mission and bring awareness to childhood cancer. Since its start in 1973, THON has raised more than $219 million to support Four Diamonds at Penn State Health Children’s Hospital.