By Abby Burton
When Kyle Greaver announced to his Phi Gamma Delta fraternity brothers in January he had been diagnosed with cancer, they knew right away they wanted to do something to help, something big.
“We knew we wanted to have an impact,” the fraternity’s president, sophomore finance and economics major Greg Birman said. “It would have to be something this campus had never seen before.”
Greaver was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer that primarily affects young people, but he has never let his illness stop his positive attitude, said his girlfriend, Kathleen Clark, a senior Chinese and government and politics major.
“If you ever get to meet Kyle,” said Clark, “you will immediately see why I and everyone else was so eager to do something for him. He truly makes my life better in every way so this was something I could finally do to hopefully help his life be a little better.”
Clark is a member of Alpha Omicron Pi, the sorority that teamed up with Phi Gamma Delta and assisted in planning the event.
“Kyle is the nicest kid ever,” said junior finance and marketing major Nick Madormo, highlighting the fact that even now, he is still smiling.
Madormo, who also helped plan the event, said there was no question of whether the fraternity would do something to help Greaver when they learned of his diagnosis.
The only question involved exactly what they would do.
Looking to Phi Gamma Delta chapters around the country for inspiration, Birman said the brothers learned about an event held by the University of Virginia and Virginia Tech in which chapters from both universities came together to complete a run from one school to the next on a football game day, running a football from one stadium to the next before the start of the game.
The Phi Gamma Delta brothers at the University of Maryland decided to tweak that idea, said Birman, instead running 32 miles from College Park to a restaurant in Baltimore near Johns Hopkins Hospital, where Greaver has been receiving treatment.
At the finish line, more than 100 of Greaver’s fraternity brothers met him and his family to present them with a check for nearly $30,000 dollars.
“Just seeing Kyle and his parents’ faces when we handed him the check made the whole thing worth it,” said Madormo. “That thirty seconds was actually awesome.”
Leading up to the April 12 run, the brothers took to social media and email to promote their events, getting the word out to the campus community, their fraternity’s alumni network and other Phi Gamma Delta chapters in the area.
With wristband and t-shirt sales promoting the event and a Go Fund Me page which
the brothers shared using Facebook and email, the fraternity was able to raise nearly $30,000 dollars to assist with Greaver’s medical bills.
On April 11, Alpha Omicron Pi hosted an event on their front lawn in which each member of the fraternity would have his head shaved in exchange for a donation pledge.
The event, which was called Going Bald for Bucks, came together at the spur of the moment but raised an additional $1,500, said Madormo.
Madormo, Birman and a senior member of the fraternity, Brian Corcoran, took on most of the work in planning the event. Among the obstacles they had to overcome was obtaining a permit to run on the highway and arranging a police escort.
Without the help of the people they worked with in the University of Maryland police department and the Maryland State Highway Administration, the event may not have been possible, said Madormo.
A university police officer assisted the brothers along the way by putting together a police escort for the duration of the run, and a man in the highway administration helped expedite the fraternity’s permit application in order to get them the clearance they needed in time for the run, said Birman.
The event itself, said Madormo, “really couldn’t have gone any better.”
The fraternity brothers ran most of the 32 miles in groups of three to 10 people, with the rest of the chapter following in buses, ready to get out and run when someone got tired.
The entire chapter finished the run as a group, passing through downtown Baltimore to meet Greaver and his family.
“The last half-mile was something that will be in my mind for the rest of my life,” said Birman. “It was a great feeling running in front of the entire brotherhood on our way to Kyle.”
Although the run is over, donations for Greaver’s family are still coming in through the GoFundMe page, said Birman.
Birman and Clark attributed the event’s success on the personal connection that each person involved possessed.
“Everyone who was involved had their whole heart in it,” said Clark, “and that is what made this so successful.”