As members of Phi Delta Theta -- and specifically the Massachusetts Epsilon chapter -- we consider ourselves some of the luckiest guys out there. We've all been afforded the chance to study at a top-flight university, and immerse ourselves in a brotherhood that fosters improvement and self-betterment.
As such, we've made it our duty to give back. Massachusetts Epsilon has some great ties with different organizations for which we regularly do philanthropic work, including The ALS Association and the ALS Therapy Development Institute (TDI). Through raising money for philanthropic efforts, we were recognized as an Iron Phi Chapter in 2015. If you feel that your organization can benefit from our help, please reach out through the "CONTACT" page.
The ALS Association
Phi Delta Theta chapters’ nationwide work tirelessly to support The ALS Association as its national philanthropy in honor of Phi Delta Theta member and Baseball Hall of Famer, Lou Gehrig. Each year, thousands of dollars are raised for The ALS Association through the efforts of Phi Delta Theta chapters and the General Headquarters.
Often referred to as Lou Gehrig's Disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive, fatal neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. When the motor neurons die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed. As motor neurons degenerate, they can no longer send impulses to the muscle fibers that normally result in muscle movement. This disease slowly robs the patient's body of its ability to walk, speak, swallow and breathe, ultimately ending in the patient's death.
ALS affects 5 out of 100,000 people worldwide. Five out of five of those affected will lose the fight within 2 to 5 years from the time of diagnosis. Every 90 minutes a person in this country is diagnosed with ALS and every 90 minutes another person will lose their battle against this disease. ALS occurs throughout the world with no racial, ethnic, or socioeconomic boundaries.
Today there is no known cause and no cure for ALS. Together, through our fundraising efforts supporting research, there is hope against this little known, underfunded, 100% fatal disease.
ALS Therapy Development Institute (TDI)
Based in Cambridge, The ALS Therapy Development Institute is an expansive laboratory space 100% dedicated to innovative ALS research. The ALS Therapy Development Institute and its scientists actively discover and develop treatments for ALS. It is the world's first and largest nonprofit biotech focused 100 % on ALS research. Led by people with ALS and drug development experts, the institute understands the urgent need to slow and stop this disease. This is where the money raised by organizations like the ALS Foundation is put to work to find treatments and cures.
The purpose of Iron Phi is to strengthen the Phi Delta Theta International Fraternity and the impact it has on the fight against Lou Gehrig's disease through the fundraising and athletic efforts of its members.
The concept of Iron Phi was developed as a way to strengthen both Phi Delta Theta and its impact on the fight against Lou Gehrig's disease. The Fraternity has a philanthropic partnership with The ALS Association, a non-profit entity with the mission of bringing awareness to the disease and finding its cure. Through the fundraising efforts of members of Phi Delta Theta on the way to achieving personal athletic goals, the Fraternity is mobilizing its membership base to help The ALS Association and Phi Delta Theta Foundation achieve its missions.
To become an "Iron Phi", members of Phi Delta Theta (both undergraduates and alumni) must select an athletic endeavor of their choice (any type of athletic event is eligible), raise $1,000 through the Iron Phi website, and accomplish the athletic endeavor itself.
Lou Gehrig was known as the "Iron Horse" during his baseball career because of his durability and perseverance. His prowess as a hitter, consecutive games-played record (2,130), and never-give-up attitude after being stricken with ALS inspired those around him. In the spirit of Brother Gehrig, the name Iron Phi was given to the initiative to encourage those involved to remember Lou's approach to life when setting out to achieve something.
Phi Delta Theta Massachusetts Epsilon has raised a total of $16,976.63 and is on its way to becoming an Iron Phi Chapter. Four of our members, Eric Hudson, Brian Johnson, Craig Curelop, and Dorian Kersch, have earned the individual distinction of Iron Phi through their hard work and philanthropic endeavors.
Instances like this make it easy to be proud to be a Phi!
Each year, the Walk to Defeat ALS brings communities together in the fight against Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Though we walk for various reasons, we are united in our quest to find a cure for ALS.
Massachusetts Epsilon has raised money for and participated in the Boston Walk to Defeat ALS event every year since our inception. Despite whatever weather Mother Nature throws at us, brothers join together for a several mile walk on Carson Beach in South Boston. Through the October wind and crisp temperatures, our brothers will pull on their Phi Delta Theta sweatshirts and head out to the shore of the Boston Harbor to 'walk because we can.'
It's as much a brotherhood event as it is a philanthropic endeavor. As we walk along the shore, our talk is filled with laughter, anecdotes and advice, which only strengthen the fraternal bonds between us.