Every fall, Alpha Chi Omega and Phi Gamma Delta (FIJI) team up to co-host a BBQ for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Each year, they sponsor a child and this year it was five year old Emelia. Emelia was diagnosed with Acute Lymphobastic Leukemia (ALL). Over the last two years, Mia has undergone 55 transfusions, 24 spinal taps, liver failure, and multiple hospital stays lasting up to a month. The event took place on September 18th, and with sweet Mia and her family in attendance, there was fun to be had by all!
This year’s goal was to raise $10,000, and through family and friend donations, the 700+ community members showing up to the BBQ, and fun challenges leading up to the day of the BBQ, Alpha Chi Omega and FIJI hit their goal on the dot! As the years progress, the Make-A-Wish challenges just get wackier and wackier. This year, the hosts from each chapter had a little fun challenging one another… Alpha Chi Omega’s VP Philanthropy, Katie Hansen, wore a suit to class for $100 donation, Logan Pieski of FIJI wore a dress around campus for $130. Other chapter members had quite the fun too. FIJI Austin Huels pledged to donate $50 if Alpha Chi’s Dzana Sarajlija went on a date with him (and for those curious, she did say yes)! Tate Vickers (FIJI) said yes to getting frosted tips for $100 and Maria Hufford was challenged by Preston Padgett to wear a hot pink wig for her composite picture for $30. The challenges concluded with chapter presidents, Alyson Van Winkle and Brock Fuemmeler sliding down a slip in slide full of condiments in the middle of campus for $100!
Alpha Chi Omega’s VP Philanthropy, Katie Hansen, said, “this is the event I have been waiting my whole term as VP Philanthropy to plan. Going into the pediatric healthcare field, I have a passion for Make-A-Wish and what it stands for. It was incredible getting to work with the company directly while getting to know Emelia and her family and their story. Seeing them tear up leaving the event in gratitude made all the stress and hard work from the last few months so incredibly worth it.” When asked what her favorite part of the event was, Katie said, “hands down hanging out with Mia! She took me by surprised and was so bold in getting to know all the people who came out to support her! We drew with chalk for quite some time, she enjoyed a few servings of ice cream, and even followed me around our sorority house to get a tour and meet all the girls! Hearing her giggle and play with Morris, our house dog, was so precious.”
FIJI’s Philanthropy Chair, Logan Pieski, added that his favorite part was meeting Emelia as well. “Her personality was contagious. She is a fighter. No one should have to go through cancer especially a five year old. She has been through way more than the normal person and it doesn’t faze her. She is a person people can look up to and realize that they can overcome anything.” Logan concluded saying “Alpha Chi Omega and Phi Gamma Delta’s Make-A-Wish BBQ is a success because of who we have in our chapters. We have the go getters [that] want to get the job done. We don’t do this for ourselves, but to help out others. Katie Hansen was an incredible person to work with. She kept me on my toes and pushed me to get the job done. Ultimately, this was a success because we touched the life of Emelia, and I got to work with the best sorority on campus. This is a win-win in my book.”
Seeing the impact of these types of events on our campus and within our Fraternity and Sorority Life is incredible. Congratulations to Alpha Chi Omega and Phi Gamma Delta on another successful Make-A-Wish BBQ. We already can’t wait until next year!