Posts filed under ‘Profiles’

Meet the First Four Diamonds Patient: Denise Voloshin

By Marianne Clay

Middle-aged white woman with blonde hair and glasses holds a photo of herself in 1975.

Denise Voloshin, the first Four Diamonds patient, holds a school photo of herself from 1975, the year she was treated for cancer.

Just days before this year’s Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon (THON) Weekend Feb.16-18 at University Park, cancer survivor Denise Voloshin marvels at the accomplishments of the world’s largest student-run philanthropy and of its sole beneficiary, Four Diamonds. Since the days when Denise was a patient at Penn State Children’s Hospital, THON has raised nearly $150 million for the work of Four Diamonds.

Like it has since 1977, Four Diamonds will use the millions raised during this year’s THON to provide financial support to pediatric cancer patients and their families at Penn State Children’s Hospital and to fund innovative cancer research.

“The incredible ways THON and Four Diamonds help young cancer patients and their families is nothing short of amazing,” Denise says.

She should know. She was the first “Four Diamond” patient. See photos of Denise as a young girl and today on the Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center’s Flickr page.


February 12, 2018 at 3:21 pm 1 comment

More than meets the eye

Gascho with ancillary portraits 1

Dr. Joseph Gascho stands in front of his support staff series of portraits at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.

If there’s one thing Dr. Joseph Gascho wants you to do, it’s to open your eyes to new possibilities and really see things.

Gascho, a cardiologist with Penn State Heart and Vascular Institute, spends his time outside of the hospital behind a camera, taking photos of Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center staff, doctors and patients.

View Dr. Gascho photos on this Flickr album.

“I want other people to see what I see,” he explained. “I’m interested in perceiving and seeing what’s going on, and photography is a way of doing that.

“In hospitals, I want people to see that people are more than they appear to be on the surface. Patients are more than just patients, and doctors are more than just doctors.”


January 29, 2018 at 10:10 am Leave a comment

For This Advocate, Sweet Victory

By Carolyn Kimmel

Weighing 380 pounds, Bellefonte resident Dean DeVore was pre-diabetic and struggling with lethargy and sleep apnea. The AccuWeather meteorologist and game announcer for the Penn State Nittany Lions realized he had to do something to gain control over his health. He turned to surgical weight loss and lost 160 pounds.

Pennsylvania residents who, like DeVore, are struggling with obesity have a new option, thanks to the efforts of Dr. Ann Rogers, director of the Penn State Surgical Weight Loss program. After more than a decade of advocacy and more trips to Capitol Hill and the State Capitol than she cares to count, she is celebrating a victory.

As of Jan. 1, Pennsylvania state employees who have a BMI of 40 or more and diabetes are able to get weight loss surgeries covered by their health insurance. The benefit is thanks in large part to Rogers’s tireless efforts.


January 17, 2018 at 10:03 am Leave a comment

History through the lens: Veteran photographer retires after 36 years

By Jen Vogelsong

After nearly four decades of photographing the faces and events of Penn State, Darrell Peterson is trading project management in the studio for projects around the house. He is retiring in December but shared some of the favorite images he took during his 36-year career in this photo gallery.

Alan Brechbill, president of Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, said Peterson has photographed the organization’s history, and that institutional memory won’t be easily replaced. “(Darrell) knows us so well and is so proud of this place,” Brechbill said. “He made it a passion to paint us in the best light possible.”

Darrell Peterson

Over the years, Peterson has gone up in the Life Lion helicopter to take aerial photographs and scrubbed into ORs to document unusual cases for educational and research purposes.

December 21, 2017 at 7:05 pm Leave a comment

Four Diamonds celebrates 40-year partnership with THON


Charles and Irma Millard

By Ashley Davidson

When Penn State students hit the dance floor for THON this Friday, Feb. 17 through Sunday, Feb. 19 at the Bryce Jordan Center, they’ll celebrate the culmination of a year-long fundraising effort that’s expected to raise millions of dollars — and mark the 40th anniversary since THON named Four Diamonds its sole beneficiary. But it’ll be an exceptionally bittersweet moment for Four Diamonds’ founders Charles and Irma Millard, who can’t believe how far the partnership has come.

They founded Four Diamonds in 1972 after their 14-year-old son, Christopher, lost his three-year battle with cancer at the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. (Read more about the history of Four Diamonds here.) Five years later, Four Diamonds forged the relationship with THON (formally called the Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon), which catapulted the organization’s fundraising efforts and ultimately grew it into the nationally recognized philanthropy it is today. (more…)

February 15, 2017 at 2:25 pm 1 comment

Inspired student Sarayna Schock delivers produce program

A photo of Sarayna Shock at Beaver Stadium

Sarayna Schock

When Sarayna Schock sets her mind to something, there’s no stopping her. The second year Penn State College of Medicine student shows an admirable level of dedication to service while achieving her own goals. Her personal story drives her to help others with similar challenges and to make a difference in her community, including serving with LionCare, the student-run medical clinic in downtown Harrisburg, and abroad in Zambia with the College’s Global Health Scholars program.

To get there required four years in the Air Force and two years in the reserves. Serving in the military was the way Schock funded her medical education. Enlisting, however, required some changes. (more…)

October 6, 2016 at 8:04 am Leave a comment

Remembering Robert Bonneau

Robert Bonneau

Robert Bonneau (file photo)

Robert Bonneau had a passion for Penn State College of Medicine and its students. Through his 25 year career with Penn State, he served in a number of roles that advanced both the education and research missions, and endeared himself to hundreds of medical and graduate students.

Bonneau died on Thursday, March 3 after an illness.


March 4, 2016 at 9:26 am 20 comments

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