Sigma Chi fraternity has just broken the record for amount of money raised for a philanthropy by any Oregon Greek organization.
Mo Bardovi, Derby Days chairman, says that the total amount raised was $76,300.
Sigma Chi’s Oregon chapter regularly donates to the Make-A-Wish Foundation through their annual Derby Days competition.
Derby Days is a week long competition that hosts multiple fundraisers for the cause through auctions and donations. Bardovi says that one of the largest contributors to donations are Oregon sororities who donated about $50,000 to the overall total. The remainder of the funds is donated by parents and Sigma Chi Alumni.
Although the actual event was the 20th-25th of February, Sigma Chi kept donations open and continued to receive funds until mid-April. With all of this money, the fraternity’s donation will be able to grant about 15 wishes for children in Oregon.
Sigma Chi President J.T. Livingston Bullier says that one of the best parts of the money they raise is that the benefits of the money continue for several months, and the fraternity can see firsthand who they are helping.
Sigma Chi had the opportunity to meet one of the children they were helping when they threw a wish party for 2-year-old Sebastian, who has Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, a birth defect that affects normal blood flow through the heart.
Bullier says that Sebastian loves Oregon football and basketball, so the fraternity decorated the house in duck colors, invited select sorority women over, and celebrated all the accomplishments of Sebastian and The Make-A-Wish foundation.
Buller says that seeing these events puts into perspective how much they are helping not just the children, but the families as well.
“It (wishes) takes the kid’s and the family’s mind off the whole situation,” Buller said. “There’s optimism about it during dark times.”
One brother of Sigma Chi has experienced the benefit of The Make-A-Wish personally, so this cause was near to the fraternity’s heart.
Freshman member Devin Malone says that when he was a high school junior he found that he had cancer in his back. Being 17 years old at the time, he didn’t think that he would be given the opportunity to get a wish of his own.
Despite his age, Malone was granted a wish to take him and his family to go to the British Virgin Islands.
Malone says that wishes are nice because, “they take your mind off things,” and he was happy that he could see that happen for someone else.
“It was really cool being here for someone else’s wish, you know seeing the other side of it,” Malone said.
Overall, Bardovi and Bullier say that they think the event was a success, but just because they broke a record this year doesn’t mean they don’t want to stop in years to come.
Bullier says that although he’s happy helping even if it’s just one kid; the more they help the better.
“[Derby Days] has long term benefits to it, and we’re always looking to improve and build upon past successes — there’s no reason to feel complacent,” says Bullier.
The 15 wishes will be happening over the next six months or so. Bardovi says that they would love to be a part of those wishes and know what the kids are doing, but of course that decision will be up to the families.
A previous version of this article stated that the Make-A-Wish Foundation is the preferred philanthropy of the national chapter. In actuality, the Huntsman Cancer Institute is.