Two dancers, one childhood cancer survivor, to represent Penn State Hazleton at THON

Austin Yaletchko, left, and Charlie Karchner are representing Penn State Hazleton by dancing at THON this year. Submitted photo Austin Yaletchko, left, and Charlie Karchner are representing Penn State Hazleton by dancing at THON this year. - Submitted photo

Charlie Karchner has attended THON for 16 years, and has even been on the floor of the 46-hour dance marathon. But this year will bring a whole new THON experience for him as he takes on the role of dancer.

Diagnosed with cancer in 2001 at age 5, Karchner and his family were supported by THON and have attended every year since 2003, even after he was declared in remission in August 2004. This year, he is one of a pair of Penn State Hazleton dancers who will take to the dance floor Feb. 15-17 at the Bryce Jordan Center at University Park. He will be joined by fellow Penn State Hazleton dancer Austin Yaletchko.

This year, Penn State Hazleton THON is supporting the family of Remington Blanchard, a 14-month-old boy from Danville who has been diagnosed with neuroblastoma.

Yaletchko was introduced to THON as a first-year student through friends and said he “instantly fell in love” with the organization and what it does.

Karchner and Yaletchko are both seniors majoring in engineering with the alternative energy and power generation track, so they already spend a lot of time together in and out of class.

Some familiar faces for the Karchner family will be in the crowd among the thousands of people attending THON. During his battle with cancer, they were supported by the Alpha Delta Pi sorority and some former Alpha Delta Pi dancers will be back this year – this time to watch Karchner dance.

It’s the first time either Karchner or Yaletchko will dance at THON, although both have served a variety of roles with the organization. They balance their time preparing for THON with part-time jobs and sports – soccer and water polo for Yalechko, and golf and baseball for Karchner.

To prepare for 46 hours on their feet dancing, the pair has been going to the gym, running and eating well – but said that’s only half the battle.

To donate to THON through Penn State Hazleton’s dancers, visit THON.donordrive.com/participant/Charlie-Austin. Watch the live stream of all the events at thon.org/livestream.

Austin Yaletchko, left, and Charlie Karchner are representing Penn State Hazleton by dancing at THON this year.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/web1_Hazleton-THON.jpgAustin Yaletchko, left, and Charlie Karchner are representing Penn State Hazleton by dancing at THON this year. Submitted photo