THE SMITH FAMILY
The Smiths are Atlas’ first adopted Four Diamonds family. Matt, Stephanie and Victoria have been with us from the beginning! Matt and Steph are both Penn State alumni, and they live just outside State College, Pennsylvania. Atlas has been fortunate to be paired with the Smiths as our first THON family and to share their struggle and triumph.
After Victoria was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) in 2005, she began a long course of treatment. In 2005, the Smiths were not able to attend THON and watched it from the live-stream. In 2006, the Smiths attended their first THON and have been there every year since. One of Victoria's favorite parts of THON weekend is participating in the fashion show!
Throughout the year, we participate in countless events with the Smiths, including large gatherings, such as the family picnic, the Homecoming parade, tailgates, the THON 5k, and our annual trip to Hershey Park. Victoria has been involved with the area’s special Olympics and was very involved in her middle school’s Mini-THON where she served as an overall this past year! We also frequently send members to visit the Smiths for dinner at their home.
Now 14 years old, Victoria is a healthy, strong, beautiful teenager. As of May 25, 2016, she has been off treatment and cancer free for 9 years! Congratulations Victoria, we are so proud of you!
The Johnson Family
In early October of 2015, Atlas was paired with our newest family the Johnson's! 6 year old Samir was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) in 2012 and is now currently in remission. In September of 2014, he received a bone marrow transplant and is still currently undergoing treatments after this procedure. Samir has five older brothers: Rahim, Malik, Kevin, Amir and Kahlil.
Shea and AR are super busy with six boys! The Johnson's became familiar with THON when they attended THON hoops in January of 2015. After attending THON hoops, they registered to become a Four Diamonds Family in order to become more active in the THON community.
THON 2016 was the Johnson's first time attending THON. Samir and his family had a great time and we cannot wait to continue to experience all that THON has to offer with our newest family.
Samir is a typical 6 year old boy full of energy. He will be starting 1st grade this year, and we are excited to watch him continue to grow as the Johnson's continue to build upon their relationship with Atlas!
The Gerena Family
Just days before THON 2012, Atlas was fortunate enough to be paired with yet another family, the Gerenas. Samantha and Mario (Macho) are the parents of 9 year old Amarie, who was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) on February 12, 2009. Amarie has two sisters; her twin Alexis and her younger sister Alivia.
The twins love listening to music and performing for our members whenever they can. During THON 2013, all three girls made an appearance on stage to sing Beauty And The Beat by Justin Bieber. In THON 2015, the girls returned to the stage and surprised THON when they rapped to Play It Again by Becky G. The girls returned to the THON stage in 2016 with a heartwarming performance of Fight Song.
Throughout the year, the girls attend many events with Atlas including the family picnic, the family carnival, hosting us for canning/canvassing weekends, Hershey Park, and their traditional Atlas birthday pool party!
Amarie, now 10 years old is starting fifth grade as a strong, healthy, and beautiful young girl. As of April 2016, she has been off treatment for 5 years and is now officially considered cancer free!
The Brobson Family
In 2008, Atlas adopted our second THON family, the Brobsons! On December 18th, 2007, Claire was diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL). For the next 2 years, Claire went through various treatments to help rid her of her cancer.
During THON 2010, Claire became the first Four Diamonds child to actually finish treatment during THON weekend. The Brobsons, Atlas, and the rest of the THON community were very excited and Claire’s parents, Kevin and Lauren, spoke at Family Hour at the end of the weekend. In 2011, Claire was named “Girl of the Year” by The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
Claire has two younger brothers Will and Gabe. Will loves history, Boy Scouts, and video games and is always ready for a sword fight when Atlas comes around. Gabe, a.k.a "Goober," loves baseball, soccer, and the occasional Frozen sing-a-long. Toby, the Brobson’s lovable dog, entertains visitors with his high energy playfulness. Throughout the year, the Brobsons attend many events with Atlas including hosting canning weekends, the THON 5k, the family picnic, and the Atlas' Hershey Park trip.
THON 2015 marked Claire’s milestone of being 5 years cancer free and officially cured of cancer. Claire is now a beautiful, mature 16 year old young lady and is starting her junior year of high school. Claire enjoys hanging out with her friends, playing tennis, performing in her school's plays, and all things Harry Potter.