By Carina Sorrentino
As of Feb. 1 the Delta Delta Delta national organization has met its goal of raising $15 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. A promise that was to be met by 2015 has been completed already a year and a half ahead of schedule.
“It’s very exciting to be a part of,” stated Aubri Oliphant ’15, Tri Delta’s Philanthropy Chair over the past year, “Nationally we are not the largest contributor due to school size, but just since this fall we have raised a little over $29,000, with a goal of $35,000 for the rest of the year.”
Tri Delta’s national press release stated, “The announcement came during the annual Tri Delta St. Jude Leadership Weekend in Memphis, Tenn., where more than 350 Tri Delta members were gathered to learn about the hospital’s operations, attend educational sessions on fundraising best practices and celebrate the Fraternity’s partnership with St. Jude.”
Oliphant got the opportunity to attend this Leadership Weekend last winter, an experience she said solidified her commitment to the sorority and its philanthropic endeavors. “At the hospital in Tennessee, Delta has its own floor dedicated to bone marrow transplant patients. The money we make goes to the hospital as a whole, but having our own floor makes us feel even more connected,” she remarked.
Oliphant continued, “Seeing pictures of girls in our sorority that come from all over the country to spend time with these kids, you can’t help but feel a sense of pride and excitement. The kids know us as ‘the triangles’ and that’s what they call us when we go visit them. It’s beyond rewarding.”
Founded in 1962, St. Jude has provided a service that is unique in many ways. The hospital treats cancer in children under the age of 18, and also helps find cures for patients with rare types of cancer.
An apartment complex exists alongside the hospital for the families of the patients to stay.
Many parents have to quit their jobs to be by the sides of their children while they are sick, and for that reason all of these services are provided at no cost to the family. Furthermore, the hospital keeps a warm atmosphere with good food and good company, all in an attempt to keep the children in the most relaxed environment possible.
“Besides the luxury aspect they do an extensive amount of research on diseases which does not get nearly as much attention as it should,” said Oliphant. “And even beyond this, the energy there is amazing. People are smiling, and it’s hard to feel sad at all. Every child looks happy, their parents look happy and that is a remarkable thing for a place that is considered a hospital.”
Union’s Tri Delta chapter raises the majority of their contributions during their Sincerely Yours fundraiser, during which each sister sends 50 personal letters to friends and family, reaching out for support in their cause.
In the spring, Tri Delta will also have its annual Trihop event, a pancake breakfast which generates around $1,000.
St. Jude officially partnered with Tri Delta in 1999 and since then over $27 million has been raised for the hospital. These funds have led to the creation of a teen room for some of the hospital’s older patients, and their most recent donation will go towards a Specialty Clinic.
In the official press release Richard Shadyac Jr., CEO of ALSAC/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital stated, “Tri Delta is an amazing partner that consistently outperforms its own ambitious fundraising goals to support the children and families of St. Jude.”
Although Union does not have the ability to send every girl to the Tennessee headquarters, there is a fantastic amount of girls from across the nation who are able to make the trip and learn the worth of all the hard work that goes into their philanthropy.
“It is not a relationship based just on giving money,” Oliphant remarked, “But it is one based on lasting relationships with the hospital and the children.”
By the end of this year Tri Delta chapters across the country hope to collectively contribute another $6 million to the hospital.
“I am very excited for what the rest of the year holds for us,” Oliphant said, “Our new philanthropy chair got to attend this year’s Leadership Weekend and she came back with the same fire and passion that I felt, so I can tell there will be a lot more success ahead of us.”