Phi Delts, Greeks raise money for 13-year-old to receive double-lung transplant surgery

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Western’s Greek organizations are sponsoring a raffle to raise money for a 13-year-old boy’s life-saving double-lung transplant.

13-year-old Dekoda Neill was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis when he was born.  Doctors at St. Louis Children’s Mercy Hospital in Missouri recommended this lung transplant which would save his life.

An estimated $65,000 is currently being raised by St. Joseph volunteers to make sure Dekoda can follow through with this operation.

The transplant arrangements have been made by the Children’s Organ Transplant Association (COTA) which is a national charity dedicated to organizing and guiding communities in raising funds for transplant-needy parents.

Phi Delta Theta, among others in the Greek community, will be holding a raffle in which students could win one of five 32 inch LCD flat screen TV’s.
Each ticket is only $1 and all money raised will go towards Dekoda’s double-lung transplant.

Tickets can be purchased from any Phi Delta member and most other members of the Greek community in Popplewell Hall, Murphy Hall and the Blum Student Union, where several tables are set up.

Zach Slater, public relations chair and treasurer of Phi Delta Theta, said the idea to raise money for Neill emerged this summer when Timothy Lawrence, an alumnus of Missouri Western who raises money for various causes in St. Joe, informed him and other Phi Delta members of the boy’s dilemma.
“He told us about this and we decided to help him out,” Slater said.

Lawrence contacted this fraternity first, considering he was a former Phi Delta Theta member.

“I started out on this journey with getting doors slammed in my face, people not taking calls, people breaking promises and simply people not hearing me,” Lawrence said. “I decided to go back to what I know and I figured the best bet is to go back to my roots – I got the people that I knew had motivation under them and I came back as an Alum to my fraternity and asked my brothers to help me.”

He appreciates the work that all the Greek organizations are doing.

“It goes to show that the Greek Community is amazing regardless of what others say about them,” Lawrence said. “If it wasn’t for The Greek System at MWSU this project of attempting to raise $65,000 for his transplant and expenses would never have gotten off the ground. I thank them all for that and so does Dekoda’s family.”
Lawrence said tickets will presumably be sold after Christmas and into February.

Slater said anyone can participate and they can even contact members of Greek organizations to help sell tickets on their own, outside of school.
“So far we’ve had a lot of support from the whole community – people want to donate,” Slater said.

Lawrence said two possible scenarios have been proposed for announcing the winners of the raffle – a charity dinner, or an MWSU basketball game.
“I am hoping for announcing the winners at a crowded field house at one of the basketball games on a Saturday night in the first of February or the end of January,” Lawrence said.”

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