By News Staff
On April 5, 2013, Terry Miltner, a United States veteran, former sustainability coordinator at Union and father of student Michelle Miltner ‘13, was informed that he would need a serious medical treatment—a heart transplant. He was diagnosed with congestive heart failure in 2007, a condition that affects 5.7 million Americans, according to the Center for Disease Control.
Recently, the sisters of Delta Delta Delta’s Beta Psi chapter have created an initiative to raise money for the costly medical expenses associated with heart transplant surgery. In an effort to support their sister and friend, the sisters created a fundraising account on “GoFundMe,” a website to help individuals raise money for various projects.
“We decided to create this online fundraiser in order to utilize the capabilities of social networking. It’s absolutely amazing how quickly word can spread via Twitter and Facebook,” Ava Carnevale ‘14 said. Carnevale created the website last week as a means to raise money for Miltner’s surgery.
The Union community has rallied around the cause, with students, faculty, staff and administrators alike donating money to help pay for Terry’s medical expenses and medications. The project, created by Carnevale, has raised over $4,800 as of April 22, with a total goal of $10,000.
“Close relatives, sisters from all over the nation, alumni and Union community members that have seen the page have donated. It’s amazing that complete strangers can come together for a great cause to help the father of a member of our small Union community,” Carnevale said. She posted the link to the website on the Delta Delta Delta national page, which has attracted attention from sisters across the country.
When describing her father, Michelle said, “He’s been there now for about four weeks, and this entire time he has remained optimistic. One thing that I truly value about my dad’s attitude is that he always finds the best in every situation … He is the most deserving and fantastic man I know.”
According to the “Team Terry” funding page, he has been placed on the Heart Transplant Waiting List with a status of 1A. Although this means he is at the top of the list, because his condition is the most urgent, the doctors have predicted that it will be three to six months before a heart becomes available.
Until then, he will remain in the critical care unit of Massachusetts General Hospital, hours away from his home and family in Burnt Hills, N.Y.
Michelle said, “I know that he was a student and faculty member at Union but I had no idea how much people loved him until now. He is a rock star! I have never met a more inspirational person in my entire life.”
Carnevale encourages all members of the Union community to donate to this cause. “It is such a great cause. This system of fundraising works so well because if each person that reads the link donates even $2 or $5, the money can go such a long way. I just hope everyone that has donated realizes how much of a difference their contribution makes.”
Michelle showed appreciation toward the entire fundraiser, and was surprised by how quickly the idea could be supported by so many donations. “I always knew that my sisterhood was a blessing, but what the support that the girls of Delta Delta Delta has shown my family in the past month is more heart-warming than anything I could have ever dreamed of,” she said.
Dean of First-Year Students Kate Schurick was one of the many members of the college community who donated to the fundraiser. When asked about her reason for donating, she said, “Terry was a valued member of our community. He took great pride in all that he did on campus and it was pretty obvious that he loved working at Union. … It is difficult to hope for a transplant because that means someone else has lost his or her life, but I know that the matching heart will find its way into a very kind and generous person.”
To donate to ‘Team Terry’ please visit http://www.gofundme.com/2lzy7k