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Kappa Tetarton Alumni Association

Southern Illinois University at Carbondale

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Undergrads Raise $5000 for fellow Greek

Bethany Krajelis
Daily Egyptian

It was a Friday afternoon, and Erica Oldani and her parents took a trip to Springfield. It was not a trip Oldani had been looking forward to.

At 6:30 a.m. the next morning, Oldani awoke from the sound of the telephone ringing. It was her boyfriend, whom she has been dating for a year and a half. He told her to come to the hospital right away. Oldani jumped out of her bed, grabbed her parents' keys and drove off without hesitation.

"I knew something was wrong," Oldani said.

It was at 6:45 a.m. when she heard the bad news. Brandon Wyatt, a 24-year old SIUC alumnus, was diagnosed with Cushing's disease and a rare form of cancer of the pancreas.

Brandon Wyatt, an Alpha Tau Omega alumnus, had more of a problem than anyone expected. He recently began a new job where his health insurance would not begin until October. The high price of medical procedures and medications were too much for Wyatt to handle alone.

President of Alpha Tau Omega Eric Gullett decided to sponsor a fundraiser with the help of Oldani and the Alpha Gamma Delta sorority to raise money for Wyatt. Forty-eight Hours of Volleyball began Friday night at 8 p.m. and ended Sunday night at 8 p.m. The non-stop event received a lot of help from the University and Carbondale community.

Gullett said numerous businesses donated their services and money to help Wyatt's cause. Subway, Jimmy John's, Dominos, Papa John's, Gatsby's Bar and Billiards and Pinch Penny Pub were only some of the businesses that were involved in the event.

Oldani said she has been traveling from Carbondale to Springfield every weekend to be with Wyatt. She said the cost of his hospital bills, chemotherapy and operations is "astronomical."

Oldani said Wyatt's prescription medications cost more than $400 per week. She said she was with Wyatt last weekend when he shaved his head in preparation for his chemotherapy treatment.

"He loves his curly hair, so when we cut it, he wasn't too happy about it," said Oldani, admitting Wyatt is a little vain about his hair.

She described the extensive medical procedures Wyatt will be undergoing. Not only will Wyatt continue to receive chemotherapy treatments, but doctors have also strongly recommended liver and pancreas transplants.

Along with the volleyball games, students, friends and greek members laughed about the good times and memories they have had with Wyatt.

Alaina Coats, president of Alpha Gamma Delta, sat watching the festivities with her sorority sister Laura Taylor. Coats described Wyatt as an "awesome" guy who cares about everyone.

"He always cared," Coats said. "And that's why so many people are so anxious to help him now."

Agreeing with Coats, Taylor, a junior in journalism, added some of her own thoughts and feelings to their conversation.

"It is so unfortunate because Brandon acts so alive and positive,""Taylor said. "He just doesn't know any other way to be."

Reminiscing about last year's Greek Week, Coats laughed about Wyatt's spontaneity and sense of humor.

"He dressed up like Mr. T and shaved his head into a mohawk," Coats said. "He wore the chains and everything."

Sean Randich, sports chair for Alpha Tau Omega, said Wyatt never acted serious.

"Everyone knew Brandon and liked him," Randich said. "He was the kid who made everyone laugh."

Gullett said the Forty-Eight Hours of Volleyball fundraiser was planned very quickly because Wyatt?s condition came without much warning. He mentioned the support and donations they have received from the other fraternities and sororities on campus.

"Phi Sigma Kappa donated shirts, their time and money to the fundraiser," said Gullett as he pointed to the eight members of that fraternity playing volleyball at the time.

The majority of the event's attendance was from students and members of the greek system, but Gullet mentioned SIUC faculty members had stopped by to make donations.

Bob Oldani, Erica's father, was also present at this past weekend's fundraiser. He described Wyatt as a "nice fellow and quite a gentlemen." He said he was impressed at all of the college students who came out to donate.

Henry Collins, a resident of Carrier Mills, came with his friend to donate money to Wyatt's cause. Collins, having dealt with cancer in own family, was sympathetic to Wyatt's problem. He said he hopes everything works out for Wyatt.

"People understand," Collins said, "I am sure this fundraiser will be successful."

Chevi Eaton and Aimee Allegretti, members of Delta Zeta sorority, were both satisfied with the event's turnout.

"This is great," Eaton said. "It brings us all together to help out for a great cause."

Allegretti agreed and described Wyatt as "a hilarious guy." She recalled one of her favorite memories of Wyatt, dressed in a white suit and dancing like John Travolta in "Saturday Night Fever."

Alpha Gamma Delta member Kelli Kemper said she never knew Wyatt but was happy to help.

"What am I going to spend my money on?" said Kemper, a sophomore in journalism. "Someone's life is way more important than buying a pack of cigarettes or a beer."

Peter Morris, a junior in visual communications, was one of many Alpha Tau Omega members who planned to stay up for the entire 48 hours.

"The longer I am out here," Morris said, "the more money Brandon gets."

Morris had seven people donate to the cause along with many of his parents? co-workers.

Vice President of Alpha Tau Omega Joe Angileri said he was hoping to raise at least $5,000 for Wyatt, a goal that was accomplished by the end of the weekend.

"We've never done anything like this before," Angileri said. "But we're going to go until we can't go any longer."

Reporter Bethany Krajelis can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

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