Through education, participation and donations, Kappa Sigma’s spring philanthropy event has supported the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society for 25 years.
The tradition is continuing this year — only this time, Kappa Sigma has set its sights higher. If it attracts $25,000 in donations, 500 participants and 400 runners and walkers, the student-led fundraiser will be the largest in Willamette’s history.
“We want to be a part of something bigger,” says Sponsorship Chairman Mitch Diaz ’16. “This disease affects people around the world, and we want to help find a cure.”
The annual Tracy Hoffman Memorial Run is set for April 10 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Bush’s Pasture Park. Free for runners and walkers, the family-friendly event will feature musical entertainment, speakers, information booths and one-mile and 5K fun runs and competitive runs. Top finishers for each race will receive trophies and ribbons.
The event honors Hoffman ’82, a Kappa Sigma member who died from leukemia in 1985. Hoffman was an honors student, an intramural athlete and an officer of the fraternity’s executive council on campus. He also worked with troubled youths in the community.
“We do this run each year in memory of Tracy Hoffman and for what his fight represents to thousands of people living with, or affected by, blood cancers,” Diaz says. “Tracy really embodied what we in the fraternity hope to live up to.”
Until recently, the memorial run pulled in several hundred dollars and a few dozen participants. But due to additional planning and relationship-building, the fraternity raised $8,000 in 2014 and $15,000 last year.
Diaz and Philanthropy Chairman Jacob Saiki ’16 are hopeful of raising even more support this spring — due in large part to alumni outreach and business sponsors. Already, Johnny Theiss ’85, owner of The King of Clubs Las Vegas and former Kappa Sigma member, has pledged VIP concierge services for an evening in his city. The prize will go to ten members of the graduating class that gives the most.
Community engagement is also key. That’s why Kappa Sigma contacted the Residence Hall Association, administrators and library staff about forming teams of runners and walkers — which Saiki hopes will unite the campus community in a fun and competitive way.