Hey GCers! This story went out on the CFEA listserv & I thought you would all enjoy it. It's a great Christmas story & shows just what brotherhood (or sisterhood ) is!
FRATERNITY BROTHERS HELP SICK CHILD'S CHRISTMAS WISH COME TRUE
OXFORD, OH --- A child living with leukemia will get her Christmas wish this year thanks to the efforts of a group of fraternity brothers on the East Coast.
Five members of Phi Kappa Tau Fraternity will help transport a dog from Farmington, Maine to Chadbourn, North Carolina from December 21-23 and deliver it to four-year-old Micaela Ward, a patient in the pediatric oncology unit at UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Micaela and her family (parents Richard and Vicky and siblings Charlton, 13, and Elizabeth, 20 mos.) had their dog stolen from their backyard the same week as Micaela's diagnosis. She was hospitalized several weeks ago and bonded with the "hospital dog," a Great White Pyrenees named Bear.
Dr. Stuart Gold, Micaela's physician, recognized the bond between the child and the dog and worked to locate a Pyrenees breeder, Melanie Nadeau, in Maine who was willing to donate a dog to the family for free. The dog, also named Melanie, is a three-year-old therapeutic dog. At that point, it became a matter of simply getting the dog from Maine to North Carolina.
Dr. Gold began contacting airlines, freight companies and friends with access to personal planes. For various reasons these options produced nothing.
Desperate to get the dog to Micaela by Christmas, Dr. Gold sent a message to his friend Donna Steitler. Steitler works for the Hole in the Wall Gang Camps, an organization founded by actor Paul Newman that is committed to providing children living with life-threatening illnesses with a summer camp experience.
Steitler spent time researching transport methods and foundations that might be able to help out. In a final effort, she contacted Phi Kappa Tau, a national fraternity that works with the Hole in the Wall Gang regularly.
Steitler's plea went out in the form of an email early on Tuesday morning (Dec. 18). Phi Kappa Tau posted it to its website and listserve. Within hours, dozens of brothers had volunteered to make the journey.
Phi Kappa Tau staff member Daniel Garcia began coordinating the effort and by Wednesday afternoon had the trip mapped out. Five sets of brothers would divide the journey into five segments, meeting at rest areas and homes along the route to meet each other and hand over the dog.
The first leg of the journey begins on Friday night (Dec. 21) when Josh Masse will pick up the dog from Melanie Nadeau in Farmington, Maine.
Masse will take the dog home to Brunswick, Maine and leave early on Saturday morning to meet Chris Conrad at a rest stop off highway 95.
Conrad will transport the dog to a his home in Atco, New Jersey, where brother Jeff Gonzales will drive the dog to Todd Pearson's home in Ashburn, Virginia.
Pearson will keep the dog overnight and depart with it early in the
morning with Bill Hoisington to meet Matt McCuen in Emporia, Virginia.
McCuen will deliver the dog to the child's home in Chadbourn, NC late on Sunday afternoon, Dec. 23.
Micaela Ward knows she is going to receive the dog by Christmas. The Phi Kappa Tau brothers also plan to take photographs along the way and will present the Ward family with a scrapbook chronicling Melanie's transport.
As members of a national fraternity, these young students have never met each other and some of them never will. Their willingness to help each other make this dream come true for a young child is a true testament to their bonds of brotherhood.
Editor/Director of Communications
Phi Kappa Tau
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