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Sigma Nu fraternity comes together

BY BENJAMIN TOWAR | MARCH 27, 2015 5:00 AM

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After tragedy struck two Sigma Nu brothers, the fraternity and Iowa City community have come together to search for solutions.

University of Iowa students and Sigma Nu fraternity brothers Rodric Jackson, who was diagnosed with a stage-3 brain tumor, and Andrew Mogni, who was placed in a coma after a 40-foot fall while in Italy, are both at the center of the fraternity’s philanthropy.

The fraternity brothers quickly took to their phones and social-media accounts looking for ways to help.

“We all wanted to do something so we put out as many ideas as possible,” Sigma Nu President Mark Parise said. “We had a meeting … we figured out how to centralize all the funds that we raise and had people know where to donate … it all kind of led to our philanthropy.”

The result of the scramble is “Kickin’ It For a Cure,” a kickball tournament and philanthropy event that will be held at noon April 11. The annual event, which usually raises money and awareness for the American Heart Association, will direct the funds toward assisting the brothers and their families.

“This year, I’ve been in contact to have a representative [from the American Brain Tumor Association] at the actual event … to help raise awareness on the day of so we are also supporting a bigger cause,” said Tommy Lau, the fraternity’s philanthropy head.

While the tournament lies a few weeks ahead, the philanthropy event has got its feet on the ground through the sale of jerseys and wristbands win the fraternity house.

The jerseys sport the brothers’ names on the front and back, and the wristbands are embedded with the phrases “PrayForMogni” and “PrayForRodric” on both sides. The Sigma Nu house is also adorned with banners displaying the phrases under the second-floor windows.

Two gofundme.com sites have been set up for the brothers online, one for Jackson and his family, the other for Sigma Nu’s Kickin’ It For a Cure.

As of Thursday evening the amount raised between the two crowd-funding efforts was more than $10,000.

Rodric Jackson

Since his leave from classes, Jackson has been in contact with the fraternity both personally and through his mother, who posts updates on the fundraising page. The latest update mentioned frequent trips to Iowa City for radiation treatment.

Jackson’s fraternity brothers report that, despite his condition, he has remained in high spirits. His brothers say that he frequently cracks jokes with nurses or sends them humorous Snapchats while undergoing treatment.

“He’s a strong kid,” said Trevor Heimke, a Sigma Nu fraternity brother and UI junior.

Andrew Mogni

Heimke told The Daily Iowan that Mogni was studying at John Cabot University in Rome when his fall occurred.
Mogni, who has been in a coma since the fall, has been moved back to the United States (Northwestern Hospital in Chicago) after being hospitalized in Rome. The nurses in Rome dubbed Mogni “The American Gladiator” in reference both to his physical fitness and will to “hold on,” Heimke said.

Parise said updates from Mogni’s mother say the family has seen limited responses from him since he was placed in a coma. When the Mogni family enters his hospital room, faint twitches and muscle reactions can be seen.

On one such occasion, Mogni’s brother took his hand, imploring for a response, only to be answered by his fingers starting to close around his brother’s.

Parise said Sigma Nu is thankful for the support from the community as well as the rest of the UI greek community, which has purchased wristbands, donated money, and designed posters for the house.

“It’s cool to hear about a positive coming together of multiple Greek chapters for a common cause,” Heimke said. “You hear a lot of negative fraternity and sorority stuff, so it’s great to hear a positive.”

The two fundraisers can be found by visiting gofundme.com/kickinitforacure and gofundme.com/kqhwlw.


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