The brothers of Tau Kappa Epsilon (TKE) sponsored a walk-a-thon to fundraise for St. Jude’s from 6pm till 12am in the Keiper Recreation Center on Friday, November 20. The walk invited students and faculty members to donate $5 to walk for a cure. Clubs and organizations had the opportunity to benefit as well and set up tables around the walk and sell products or simply inform walkers about their club while giving $10 to donate to St. Jude’s.
For over thirty years now, TKE has maintained a long-lasting relationship with St. Jude’s Research Hospital and its founder, Danny Thomas. The mission of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, as found on their website is, “to advance cures, and means of prevention, for pediatric catastrophic diseases through research and treatment” and their founder’s motto is that “no child is denied treatment based on race, religion or a family's ability to pay.”
St. Jude’s was opened February 4, 1962 in Memphis, Tennessee because the survival rate for children with cancer was almost nonexistent. Shawn McCollum, president-elect of TKE, commented on what it means to him to raise money for such a powerful organization: “I really like fundraising. It’s a good feeling to know I’m helping a greater cause, especially something as influential as St. Jude’s.”
The relationship between TKE and St. Jude’s began when TKE member Elvis Presley used his talents to help raise funds for these cancer-stricken children. Then in 2008, TKE rekindled this devotion to St. Jude’s with vowing to “save the lives of children with cancer, sickle cell and other life-threatening illnesses. TKE chapters across the country are raising funds and awareness to support the dream of Danny that ‘no child should die in the dawn of life.’”
TKE not only supports fundraising for St. Jude’s but also Alzheimer’s Awareness. In 2001, TKE adopted the Alzheimer’s Association as an official philanthropy. The fraternity partnered with President Ronald Reagan and his Research Institute one year after Frater Reagan revealed he had Alzheimer’s.
Both causes are admirable and ambitious. TKE encourages all students to participate in these fundraising events to show compassion and empathy for those suffering, and to aid in finding cures. Alongside McCollum, another TKE brother, Jacob Quasius, commented and stated, “As one of our national partners, we take a lot of pride in raising funds for the hospital. This is the first time we are running the event, and we hope that the event is able to serve its fundraising purpose while also being a laid back, fun event.”
In addition to the opportunity to walk and for clubs and organizations to get involved, TKE is conducted a “Shave-Down” event at 9pm during the walk where the heads of five volunteers were shaved to a certain length, depending on how much money was donated. Their goals were $50, then $100, $150, and $200 or more. If any volunteer received $200 or more, they would completely shave their head. The participants were John Shaffer, Will Thomas, Andrew Shelly, Andrew Chase, and Dan Yoder. Quasius offers, “The brothers of TKE are really excited to bring this event to campus and hope to continue it in the future.” Looking ahead, keep an eye out for more TKE fundraising events to support “Hilarity for Charity.”