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Derby Days raises money for cancer

By Brendon Prescott
On April 2, 2012

  • Representatives of Alpha Phi, the sorority that raised the most money during Derby Days, show off their pride during the events. Derby Days raised over $11,000 for the Huntsman Cancer Institute. Mike Corasaniti

Last week Sigma Chi hosted its annual "Derby Days" fundraiser. Derby Days is a week-long series of events that female organizations on campus participate in by attending Derby Days events throughout the week. Members of the fraternity and other organizations compete in the Derby Decathlon, a 10-event race around the UConn campus, and nominate a member of their organization to be the Sigma Chi Sweetheart, a female member who lives up to their ideals of friendship, justice and learning.

The fundraising for the event went to the Huntsman Cancer Institute in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Huntsman Cancer Institute is a research center as well as inpatient hospital for people with all different types of cancer. The Huntsman Cancer Center is also a member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, which is a not-for-profit alliance of the world's leading cancer centers. NCCN is dedicated to improving the quality of care provided to patients with cancer and improving the effectiveness of treatment.

Sigma Chi raised money for the Huntsman Cancer Institute by selling Derby Days tank tops, hosting food specials at Ted's Bar and Wally's Chicken Coop, running Penny Wars, setting up a Pie-A-Sig station and Sink-A-Sig dunk tank on Fairfield Way, charging admission to a Sweetheart Pageant and using the Derby Challenge online donation system provided by the Huntsman Cancer Institute for all chapters of Sigma Chi.

This year Sigma Chi raised just over $11,300, vastly exceeding its amount last year of $2,500.

Clarence Cheung, a 6th-semester accounting major and annotator of the Gamma Omega chapter of Sigma Chi, was filled with excitement during the Derby Days this year and was shocked by the success of the fundraiser.

"Derby Days is my favorite week of the year," Cheung said. "It's a week where we all get to have fun during the day and raise money for a great cause at the same time. It's amazing all the support we got from the participating organizations. They helped us raise over four times the amount we raised last year."

Derby Days has long been a tradition of Sigma Chi at UConn. Derby Days used to take place every year throughout the 1970s and '80s, but stopped until it was recently brought back in 2008.

Brendan Innes, a 6th-semester biology major and pro consul of the Gamma Omega chapter, was happy with the outcome of Derby Days this year.

"In the '70s and '80s, Sigma Chi at UConn had Derby Days, but stopped several years ago. This is the fourth year in a row that Gamma Omega has had Derby Days, and by far the most successful," Innes said.

The extreme success of the fundraiser correlated to the large amount of participation in this year's games.

Fortunately for the Huntsman Cancer Center, the Gamma Omega chapter of Sigma Chi will be sending them a large check after this year's Derby Days. 

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