Theta Phi Alpha plays kickball for Crohn's



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Phi Lambda Pi sophomore Anthony Lemon slides into first during the Theta Phi Alpha event, "Kick Out Crohns" on Sunday in Dunn Meadow. The event was a kickball tournament, and the final game featured a slip n' slide. Haley Ward and Haley Ward Buy Photos

Jessica Eilks is not on the Theta Phi Alpha philanthropy committee, but that didn’t stop her when she had an idea for an event.

Eilks, a junior in Theta Phi Alpha sorority, was the driving force behind “Kick Out Crohn’s,” a kickball tournament organized by the sorority Sunday. The event raised money to help those with Crohn’s disease, an inflammatory disease of the gastrointestinal tract, which Eilks was diagnosed with at age 12.

“I pitched the idea to the committee, and they were really excited about it,” Eilks said. “So the goal today is to raise a lot of money to donate towards the cause.”

All profits made from Sunday’s tournament in Dunn Meadow were donated to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America. Money was raised through tournament registration fees, shirts sales and food sales.

“It’s really meaningful to us since we have a sister in our sorority who wanted to put on this event,” Lauren Munley, a junior in Theta Phi, said. “She stood up and talked to us at one of our meetings, and it really made me want to get a team together for her and for such a great cause.”

This is the first year Theta Phi Alpha has organized such an event, Sara Mason, Theta Phi philanthropy chair, said. The sorority typically has a fundraiser in the spring to benefit the Salvation Army, but has never had a fall philanthropy event.

“We didn’t know how much traction we would get with it, because it’s so early in the semester, and it’s a new event,” Mason said. “But we have a lot better turnout than I was expecting.”

Planning began last spring and took place throughout the summer, Katie Burkett, another philanthropy chair, said. Promotion for the event on social media and through other sorority chapters began about a month before the 
tournament.

Eight teams participated in the bracket-style tournament, and many spectators attended the event as well. The championship game was a water slide version of kickball, with tarps covered in soap and water laid down between the bases.

“We have food and prizes for the winners, and we just wanted it to be a time to come and hang out,” Burkett said. “We want it to be fun, and we wanted to just try to make it as big of an event as possible.”

Crohn’s disease and Colitis are chronic diseases, Eilks said. She said her goal for this event was to help the CCFA in its research for a cure, as well as to raise awareness of the condition.

“A lot of people don’t really think about Crohn’s or Colitis a lot,” Mason said. “We want to get the word out.”

There currently are no plans to make the kickball tournament an annual event, though members of the sorority are open to the idea, Mason said.

“I think that it’s really special to be able to benefit somebody specifically within our chapter,” said Macenzie Ash, a sophomore in Theta Phi. “That’s a huge reason why I’m proud to be doing this.”

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