Wednesday, February 17, 2010

San Diego Greeks Inspired by Sig Ep

Moved to Find Cure
LHON affects the cells within the optic nerveGetty Images

Every year fraternities and sororities at San Diego State University adopt a cause for their Greek Week, but this year’s fundraising hits a little closer to home.

A member of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity suffers from Leber’s hereditary optic neuropathy. LHON affects the cells within the optic nerve and can result in severe loss of vision or total blindness. During the week of April 19-23, the Greek community will be raising money to help fund research.

Jonathan Cunha, the National Pan-Hellinic Council Activities Director and one of the organizers of Greek Week, said the decision to raise money to fund research for LHON did not take long.

“The fact that this gentleman was at San Diego State and he was in our own Greek community, a lot of people were touched by his story," said Cunha. "It was kind of an easy decision.”

San Diego State University's Greek Week is the biggest Greek Philanthropy of the year and hundreds of members from the Greek community unite through friendly competitions in efforts to raise funds and awareness.

“The goal is to get unity amongst all the Greeks and then as one Greek community work toward one cause and kind of show the San Diego State community, as well as the surrounding community, what the Greeks are doing and that we are more then just partiers,” Cunha said.

A majority of the money will be raised through T-shirt packets being sold to members of the Greek community. The packs will get them entrance into events going on throughout the week.

Cunha said if everyone in the Greek system purchases a shirt, they would be able to raise at least $15,000 and from there they will be looking to the surrounding community for additional help.

“We’re also trying to find someone like Rotary to match us,” he said.

The specific beneficiary of the fundraising will be the Doheny Eye Institute, where Dr. Alfredo Sadun and his research team believe they are less than ten years away from finding a cure.

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