Pediatric cancer survivor now a THON advocate and Penn State student

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — As a childhood cancer survivor, Brady Lucas views Penn State’s IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon (THON), a fundraiser for pediatric cancer research and treatment, through a different lens than many of his peers.

Lucas’s personal experiences with illness at a young age, he says, may also give him a different perspective on health and medicine, two areas he is studying today through Penn State’s Department of Biobehavioral Health (BBH) in the College of Health and Human Development.

Lucas, a junior from York, Pennsylvania, learned about THON and Penn State long before he came to the University as a student. Lucas will participate in THON 2017 as a dancer relations captain. Nov. 9 marks the 100-day countdown to the start of THON on Feb. 17, 2017. 

Battling childhood Leukemia in 2005 and then again in 2010, Lucas was introduced to the scary and uncertain world of cancer, surgery and chemotherapy. Penn State, THON and THON’s beneficiary, Four Diamonds, which provided emotional and financial support to him and his family, gave him an outlet to explore his passion for helping others.

Today, Lucas is healthy and an advocate for childhood cancer patients. He wants to ensure other children and families facing cancer have the same support he did.

One way Lucas works toward this goal is by serving as THON chair for his fraternity, Phi Kappa Sigma, which is also the fraternity that hosted Lucas as a Four Diamonds child for THON 2012 through 2014. The generosity of Phi Kappa Sigma is what encouraged Lucas to join the fraternity when he enrolled at Penn State.

Lucas danced in THON in 2016 through his fraternity, and he is a speaker and advocate for Four Diamonds, sharing his story to spread awareness about childhood cancer and the importance of support during treatment.

He is also co-founder of the Brady C. Lucas Golf Outing, an annual golf tournament that raises funds for Four Diamonds. The charity has raised more than $211,000 in nine years.

“My involvement in THON now has kind of come full circle,” Lucas said. “I was a child cancer patient that received support through THON. Now I want to show current THON families I’m here, that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. These children are my biggest motivators. Right now I can dance in THON, fundraise and share my story. Maybe one day I can do more. Whatever I can do, that’s what I’m going to do.”

Another interest Lucas developed through his illness and involvement with THON is pediatric hematology and oncology.

Through his major, he is able to explore a variety of fields in medicine and culture, including not only Western medicine, but specialized and targeted treatments as well, such as holistic approaches to diseases and conditions.

One day Lucas hopes to establish a children’s hospital in the United States.

He also hopes to be able to contribute to pediatric oncology research with the goal of developing cancer treatments with less debilitating side effects.

“I’ve gone through it,” Lucas said. “I hope that will help me speak to parents of children who are ill. I hope it will help me share my spirit with them, and provide the energy, care and passion health care providers should have.”

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Last Updated November 08, 2016