Since 1999 Tri Delta has partnered with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital to create partnerships, spread awareness, and raise money for Childhood Cancer. For the entirety of my life, the organization that grew to mean most to me in the world has dedicated its time to a foundation that, too, has grown close to my heart.
St. Jude believes that all a family should worry about is helping their child live. Therefore, it has become a magical place where no family ever receives a bill for treatment, housing, travel, or food. This mindset, along with dedicated partners like Tri Delta, has assisted in the transformation of the overall survival rate of Childhood Cancer from 20% to 80% since its founding a mere half a century ago. In 2014, Tri Delta pledged to raise $60 million in ten years; a commitment that I dedicate my days to meeting.
It's Part of the Sisterhood
Months prior to college, I had surgery to remove a benign brain tumor, which was then followed by a brief stay on the Pediatric Oncology Floor of my local hospital. I have seen the life that chemo treatment sucks out of a family, leaving faces pale and hearts aching in patients and parents and peers. I was lucky. My treatment: brain surgery and therapy throughout the summer. Other children’s treatment: surgery, chemo, radiation, and irreplaceable years of childhood stolen.
This journey strengthened my dedication to a life’s path of service. A sorority seemed like a perfect piece to that puzzle.
There’s a reason that an entire round of recruitment is devoted to philanthropy: because service is the backbone of sisterhood. As a PNM, when I began to learn more about Tri Delta’s partnership with St. Jude, the warm sense of belonging that flooded my body was unexplainable, and the chills that ran up my spine irreplaceable. That’s when I knew I was home. I knew that Tri Delta would provide me with the ability to help others with whom I share more bonds than I would’ve thought.
What I didn’t know was that the women with whom I made an impact would become family for a lifetime. There is nothing more powerful than a group of women with a shared mission to change the world. In my opinion, the most meaningful aspect of a sorority is its natural push for you, and the women around you, to become the best version of yourselves.
We Can't Spell Fundraising without "U"
At the end of the day, we each have a great impact as one person. We have an even greater impact as two, three, four, and so on. Now, imagine the impact we have as a single chapter. Even better, imagine the impact we have as 141 total Tri Delta chapters. Sometimes, it may feel as though your one social media fundraising push, the letter to your grandparents, or single click of a venmo button as you wait to be pied in the face outside the Student Center doesn’t make a difference. Wrong.
The wet, crinkled, faded dollar bill that the Fraternity brother pulled out of the depths of his jeans pocket after sitting in class for an hour and plopped into your hand as he ran over to pie your sister on his way to class has a much greater impact than for which it is given credit. I would eagerly get pied in the face 100 times every day if it meant that no child died of Cancer.
The Power of a Thoughtful Moment
Of all the scary things in this world, the act of conquering them can be even more frightening. Spiders? Squishing their guts into a tissue. Both are scary. Heights? Climbing the tallest mountain. Again, both are scary. Cancer? Fundraising. Cancer is scary. Fundraising isn’t.
One of the most powerful aspects of Philanthropy is not the money we raise, but the way in which, and with whom, we do it. Philanthropy events unite the entire Greek Community. They allow us to learn new things about ourselves, each other, and the ways in which we better the community as a whole. Events like my chapter’s annual kickball tournament and Move for St. Jude Zumba allow diverse members of our campus to join us in our efforts to end childhood cancer, and have fun while doing it. Additionally, taking part in the annual St. Jude 5k at the Philadelphia Zoo allows us to run with other sisters in the Greater Philadelphia Area. As our soles stomp along the pavement of the zoo at all different speeds, our souls march to the same beat: Fight. Childhood. Cancer.
Along with this, more intimate fundraisers such as our Sincerely Yours annual letter-writing campaign and our recent “10k In a Day” virtual fundraising event foster a stronger bond solely within our chapter.
Remember those 141 Tri Delta chapters? Our fundraising numbers soar when you realize that it is fostered by the support of their friends, families, and communities. Still think the 18 cents of loose change you pulled out of your pocket on your way to class while I was screaming and cheering in your face about how much we love St. Jude didn’t make a difference? Think again! Here’s to what you are contributing by smashing pie in my face, running a lap around the kickball diamond, and busting your favorite moves at Zumba.
- $5: A mask for a patient or staff member
- $50: Infant care supplies for 10 babies
- $70: Wagon to travel through the St. Jude halls
- $75: Parties to celebrate birthdays, holidays, and “no more chemo”
- $100: Creative toys
- $210: Meals for a family
- $447: One day of oxygen
- $700: Child-sized Wheelchair
- $1,000: Airfare for a parent and child
This sounds like I’m bragging about Tri Delta and our amazing connection to St. Jude. I am! It’s hard not to brag when you have been granted a priceless opportunity. Yet, it is important to note that my bragging would not be possible without your support. We have reached these amazing milestones, and continue to climb towards so many more because of you. Your donation, social media post, and time are the reasons I am able to narrate this anecdote today. Thank you for making a change, and don’t ever let anyone, including yourself, tell you that you can’t make a difference.
Xx, Lauren Whitman
University of Delaware, Delta Delta Delta