Phi Delta Theta collects funds for brother lost to ALS

Grant Cohen

Wichita State’s Phi Delta Theta chapter hosted the second annual benefit for Clark Jackson on Saturday at the Museum of World Treasures in downtown Wichita. 

Jackson, who was an alumnus of the chapter and university, died in 2009 from ALS. 

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) affects about 30,000 people in the United States, according to the ALS Association. ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is responsible for two deaths per 100,000 people annually.  

“Last year really boosted the moral of the guys,” said Dalton Glasscock, president of Phi Delta Theta. “We were on our heels of a failed ALS golf tournament. Last year was the first Clark Jackson benefit and people saw how successful that was, and the members of the fraternity wanted to be a part of the success this year.” 

The event consisted of guest speakers to educate attendees about ALS, hors d’oeuvres, live jazz music and auctions to raise money for awareness of the disease. 

Participation in this year’s event doubled from 80 people to about 200 people this year, said Jonathan Dennill, former president ofPhi Delta Theta.

“It has been an amazing turnout this year,” Dennill said. 

Speakers who were personally affected by the disease shared their stories and encouraged others to make a difference in raising awareness about ALS. 

“We have a good atmosphere going,” Dennill said. “A lot of people are learning about ALS and making a great community effort to raise funds and inform people in the Wichita community about ALS.”

Shelby Verble has been involved with the Greek community and spoke at previous Phi Delta Theta events about her mother’s diagnosis with ALS. 

Verble said she was nervous to speak in front of a large crowd at first, but she was glad she was able to give a personal story about how the disease affects people on a daily basis. 

“It felt a little scarier because my family was going to be here, but it was really cool that [Phi Delta Theta] asked me to be a part of this,” Verble said. “People can look up what [ALS] does to people, but they don’t really know until they hear it from someone who has been affected by it personally.”

Phi Delta Theta will host other events in support of ALS later in the year, such as the ALS Strikeout Softball Tournament and ALS week. 

The fraternity raised $6,500 last fall for ALS awareness, and the members are looking to build off of that success.

“Last year’s events were a huge success,” Glasscock said. “This year we are looking for new and creative programs to add to those events for this year.”