The Tech chapter of the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity, Mu Omicron, raised over $5,00o dollars last year for St. Jude Children’s Hospital. The money was raised through fundraisers and donations from TKE brothers, friends, family and the community.
Connor Braden, TKE President, grew up in Memphis and has been supporting St. Jude for years. Throughout his early education and into high school, he raised money to support the children at St. Jude every year.
“Living so close to such an incredible place you quickly learn of the miracles that happen there. Seeing first hand the dedication and passion exerted to save the life of every child that enters St. Jude gave me a deep affection for the hospital; that now, I get to continue in my collegiate years,” Braden said.
In 1962, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital opened in front of a crowd of 9,000 in Memphis. It’s founder, Danny Thomas wanted to change the lives of thousands of children and families. At St. Jude, no family receives a bill for treatment, travel, housing or food, because all they should worry about is helping their child live, according to their website.
“Danny Thomas, the founder of St. Jude, was also a member of TKE, which was something that really encouraged me and my brothers to join this fraternity and to raise money for the hospital,” Stout said.
Rock legend and fellow Tau Kappa Epsilon member Elvis Presley was an early supporter who lent his talents to help raise funds for cancer-stricken children. Presley is joined by other famous names in the entertainment world such as: Elton John, Lady Gaga, George Clooney, Bon Jovi, Martha Stewart, Faith Hill and Drew Barrymore, to name just a few. A more detailed list of St. Jude’s supporters can be found on their website.
The TKE fraternity officially began its partnership with St. Jude in 1972, according to the TKE website.
Most fraternities have a philanthropy that raises money for a charity that they have ties to. In 2011, TKE pledged to raise $1 million dollars in five years, a goal which was met a year early. After raising another $2.6 million dollars, TKE pledged to raise $10 million dollars in 10 years in August of 2019.
Last year during the month of their annual TKE week, accompanied by a virtual fundraiser for St. Jude, Mu Omicron raised $2,500 dollars.
“My local chapter always tries to raise as much as we can as a group, but I personally felt we could do better,” Jonah Stout, TKE Vice-President, said, commenting on the amount of money raised in just one month.
A group of brothers from the TKE chapter visited St. Jude last year and toured their facilities.
“Visiting St. Jude allows you to better understand just how many children’s lives and families are touched by what they do; it’s truly a remarkable place,” Conner said.
St. Jude has an impact on children and families struggling with cancer, and they do it at no charge by running off donations.
“St Jude is something that unites people and gives a common goal, ending childhood cancer,” Stout said.
TKE plans to donate even more this spring semester during their “TKE Week” philanthropy, where all the money directly goes to St. Jude.
“This is the most fulfilling part of being in TKE, and I look forward to it every year,” Stout said.
If people wish to donate, they can go to the Instagram page @tke_ttu and click the link. All donations go directly to St. Jude.