Delta Phi Epsilon Sorority hosted Drexel’s ninth annual Deepher Dude fundraiser Feb. 2 in partnership with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
The sorority raised over $45,000 in donations, surpassing last year’s earnings by approximately $15,000. All proceeds from the male beauty pageant went to CFF, which helps to fund the development of medications to fight the disease, improve the quality of life of those diagnosed, and ultimately find a cure.
The contestants were judged on swimwear, a jump-rope contest, individual talents, formalwear and their individual fundraising efforts. Once the rounds were completed, Richard Felix of Lambda Chi Alpha was crowned the Deepher Dude, having raised $4,000. The runners-up were Ian Ross of Alpha Pi Lambda in second place and Phillip Sporrer of Theta Chi in third.
“It was really nice to know that I played such a big part in helping find a cure for cystic fibrosis, especially hearing that they don’t even reach the age of 40,” Felix said. “You’re 20 and you know that you’ve lived half of your life already. I’m proud that I was able to put a dent in it.”
Students from various fraternities and the Drexel wrestling team supported the pageant, which featured 13 contestants competing for the Deepher Dude crown. The contestants not already named were Graham Bach of Tau Kappa Epsilon, Blake Bostick of Sigma Phi Epsilon, Ryan Elles of Pi Kappa Alpha, Lawrence Mahoney-Jones of Phi Kappa Psi, Akash Malhan of Delta Epsilon Psi, Jordan Hart of Drexel wrestling, Pete Schuette of Pi Kappa Phi, Joe Silverberg of Alpha Chi Rho, Scott Sugarman of Alpha Epsilon Pi and Michael White of Delta Sigma Phi.
The event took a serious turn following the introductory dance, as third-time guest speaker Emily Kramer-Golinkoff, who lives with cystic fibrosis, gave the audience her insight about the disease. Kramer-Golinkoff is 28 years old and works as a Web specialist for social media and video production at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. She is a member of CFF’s Quality Improvement Advisory Committee and a founding member of Emily’s Entourage, a team that raises money for cystic fibrosis research. The team has raised over $450,000.
“Unlike so many of my peers making snarky remarks about reaching 30 and being ‘over the hill,’ you’ll never find me complaining about getting older,” Kramer-Golinkoff said. “With an average life expectancy of 37 years old, the chance to grow old each year feels like a gift, and it’s one that I cherish fullheartedly.”
Kramer-Golinkoff, who said she also has diabetes related to CF, ran the silent auditorium through a day in the life with the disease. In addition to taking over 30 pills and four insulin shots every day, Kramer-Golinkoff said that she goes through 90 minutes of treatment before work and midday, plus an hourlong treatment before bed.
“There are no breaks, no days off, no vacations,” Kramer-Golinkoff said.
The guest speaker also took time to thank DPhiE and audience members for contributing to CFF.
“We have come so far, and we’re so close, but it’s up to people like you to help us reach the finish line,” Kramer-Golinkoff said.
Not only was Deepher Dude 2013 successful in raising money for CFF, but it also succeeded in raising awareness and inspiring those involved.
Junior legal studies and finance major Michael White said that he attended Deepher Dude competitions in the past, but as a contestant this year, he made an effort to learn about cystic fibrosis, fueling his drive to raise money for the cause. He said he learned from the experience and felt that the fundraiser created a sense of community.
“There may be rivalries in Greek life, but at the end of the day we are one big family that will gladly help each other out,” White said.
The sisters of DPhiE began planning for the fundraiser six months in advance. According to junior interior design major Angela Foley, the event assistant, a committee of 17 people met on a regular basis, planning everything from public relations to corporate donations. While the committee worked hard to make the event a success, the entire sorority benefited from the experience.
“When I was a new member, Deepher Dude gave me insight on what cystic fibrosis is and how my entire sorority could come together to support CFF,” Rachel Feldman, a pre-junior sister of DPhieE studying business, said. “I also think [Kramer-Golinkoff] relates really well to the audience, since not too long ago she was a college student at Penn. Her fundraising efforts have been phenomenal; I think our DPhiE chapter should strive to achieve the same fundraising goals she has.”
“It’s $5 at the door because we want students to come. It’s a college event; we want students to afford it,” Rachel Molofsky, the event coordinator and a senior majoring in business administration, said.
In addition to the $5 admission price and the money raised by the contestants, DPhiE sold T-shirts and raffled off baskets donated by other Greek organizations and members of DPhiE and their families. The raffle winners were announced between each round of the contest.
Deepher Dude is not DPhiE’s only source of fundraising income for the CFF. According to Feldman, the sorority hosts pasta dinners with a recommended $5 donation. Additionally, the sisters support CFF as the sorority’s national philanthropy by attending events such as We Will Rock CF and Great Strides, a walk for CF at the Philadelphia Zoo.
The Florence Forgotson Charitable Foundation and Panasonic also made significant donations. Molofsky said that the sorority raised approximately $20,000 in online donations on the CFF website. This figure is included in the $45,000 revenue.
CF is a life-threatening genetic disease that causes the lungs to fill with thick, sticky mucus, making it difficult to breathe and leading to severe lung infections and problems with the digestive system. The disease affects about 30,000 people in the U.S. and 70,000 people worldwide. A cure has not been discovered, but CFF has reached milestones to extend the lives of those with CF by decades.
To learn more about the fight against CF and to make donations, visit cff.org.