Delta Upsilon fraternity raised $3,360 during their Huntington’s disease charity walk Friday. Despite the three degree wind chill, hundreds of students came out to support the fundraiser, held in honor of Kyle Moore, ’15, a member of Delta Upsilon who recently lost his father to the disease.
Huntington’s disease is a genetic disorder that causes the neurons in the brain to progressively degenerate. Currently there is no cure or prevention for the disease.
In a speech at the beginning of the walk, Kyle Moore described his experiences growing up with a father who was progressively affected by the mental and physical symptoms of Huntington’s disease since his diagnosis in 2004.
“My father truly believed that family is everything,” Kyle Moore said.
The children of those affected by Huntington’s disease have a one in two chance of developing the disease themselves. In his speech, Kyle Moore said that he has not gotten tested for Huntington’s.
“I want to worry about the things I can control,” he said, “and let God worry about the rest.”
Zach Wilson, ’17, a member of Delta Upsilon, said he wasn’t fully aware of Moore’s story.
“I hadn’t realized the full impact of Huntington’s disease,” he said.
Together the brothers of Delta Upsilon led the half-mile walk in shorts and tee shirts. This clothing choice recreated some of the effects of Huntington’s disease, such as cold flashes, numbness and muscle twitches.
“It was a little bit chilly, but it was definitely worth it for the purpose,” said Ian Trauffer, ’17, a member of Delta Upsilon. “I think it helped demonstrate solidarity with some of the symptoms that Huntington’s patients experience.”
Ben Seiler, ’17, Delta Upsilon’s philanthropy chair, was a leading force in organizing the event. He said that the Huntington’s Walk raised more money than any other fundraiser he has been a part of with his fraternity.
“We wanted to raise awareness in the Lehigh community of this disease, and get the whole community together to support one of our members,” Seiler said.
Trevor Moore, ’18, a member of Alpha Tau Omega, participated in the walk with other members of his fraternity.
“I actually learned a lot about Huntington’s disease,” he said. “I’d heard of numerous events over my first semester that I didn’t know a lot about, and I think now I’ll definitely be involved in more at Lehigh.”
Kyle Moore said that the walk came as a surprise to him after he got back from his father’s funeral. He said that Ricky Johnson, the president of Delta Upsilon, approached him and asked how he would feel about the fraternity doing a fundraiser for Huntington’s.
“I didn’t know they were planning that for me,” Kyle Moore said. “It was unique and cool to see all your brothers behind you and doing that specifically for you.”
Seiler said that 19 different Greek chapters were involved in the event.
“We blew past our goal very quickly,” Seiler said. “I’m really grateful that people were willing to take time out of their day to come out and support a fellow Lehigh student.”
In an interview after the walk, Kyle Moore talked about how when he was growing up, his father would buy breakfast for a man called “Homeless Joe” and sit and talk with him.
“He was all about charity, giving back to good causes and those less fortunate,” he said. “He would have definitely been right there in the front listening to me and walking with us. He would have loved something like this and would have been proud of the turnout and how well it came together.”
Kyle Moore’s mother and brother also came to the walk. He said that they were very excited when they learned about the walk. Several people from his hometown donated to the cause, as well.
“They really loved it and supported it,” Kyle Moore said. “We were really grateful for the event.”