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Fish fry raises funds for Live Like Lou

Members of Phi Delta Theta fry fish and mozzarella sticks for campus and the Kearney community tor aise money for the LiveLikeLou center.

Phi Delta Theta hosts fish fry to raise money for ALS research.

BY: Braydon Conell

Members of Phi Delta Theta – Nebraska Beta, the chapter of the international fraternity located at UNK, hosted their third annual Phi Fish Fry on Friday April 12. 

With the help of generous donations from families and local businesses, Phi Delta Theta had the opportunity to expand their food options at this year’s fish fry. In addition to the fried fish and homemade French fries, attendees could also choose to have mozzarella sticks with their meal. 

Amber Hallberg, a junior organizational communication major, purchased her ticket as soon as they went on sale. 

“ALS is a very sad and debilitating disease. It would be awesome to find a cure. That is why I wanted to buy a ticket,” Hallberg said. 

Phi Delta Theta serving food.

She went on to add that the mozzarella sticks were a nice addition to the meal and felt that may have convinced some people to purchase a ticket to help the fraternity with their mission. 

UNK’s Phi Delta Theta began these fundraisers three years ago in order to promote the fraternity’s national philanthropy. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a nervous system disease that causes progressive degeneration of muscle tissue. ALS can affect any voluntary muscle group in the body including arm and leg movement, speech and posture. Life expectancy after diagnosis is two to five years and little treatment to slow the disease is available today. 

Lou Gehrig’s, another name for ALS, is in reference to the American baseball first baseman. Gehrig played his entire professional career in Major League Baseball for the New York Yankees. In addition to being a professional baseball player, he is an alum of Phi Delta Theta. Diagnosed with ALS in the 1930s, doctors named the disease after him. This further pushed the international fraternity to adopt making a difference for those afflicted by ALS as their philanthropy. 

Gustavo Balencia, the Nebraska Beta chapter’s chaplain and a junior business administration student, explained why the chapter participates.

“It is important to us because it is our national [mission]. It gives a great feeling knowing that [what we do] helps people with the disease and with research.”

One of the ways Phi Delta Theta helps those afflicted by Lou Gehrig’s is by hosting events such as the fish fry to raise money to donate. In the past, funds raised were sent directly to the ALS Association. The ALS Association is a national non-profit established in 1985. The association conducts global research aimed at finding a solution to ALS. The mission of the association is to lead the fight to treat and cure ALS and empower people living with Lou Gehrig’s disease. 

This year, however, Phi Delta Theta will be donating to the Live Like Lou Foundation. The Live Like Lou Foundation was founded in 2012 as a grassroots effort by Neil and Suzanne Alexander. In 2011, Neil Alexander, a member of the Phi Delta Theta Fraternity, was diagnosed with ALS. 

Initial efforts by the Alexanders resulted in $4 million being raised and the establishment of the $10 million Live Like Lou Center for ALS Research at The University of Pittsburgh’s Brain Institute, as well as an endowment that is able to provide grants to ALS patients and their families. An important aspect of the research center is that it provides grants to rising researchers under the pretext that collaboration is the key to finding a cure.  

Phi Delta Theta – Nebraska Beta also partners with KneeKnocker Woods in Gibbon, NE during the Halloween season as another fundraiser for their philanthropy. Outside of these big events, the fraternity encourages people to make individual donations directly to an ALS foundation because it will take everything the world can give to find a cure for this disease. 

People enjoying food.
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