Alpha Phi Omega (APO) will hold its third annual Miles for Matias Walk tomorrow to benefit multiple sclerosis research in memory of a former fraternity brother, Tom Matias.
Matias transferred out of Binghamton University after his freshman year before enrolling in Stony Brook University’s Occupational Therapy Program in fall 2007. He committed suicide in 2009 after suffering from both depression and bipolar disorder.
While attending SBU, he volunteered with adolescents diagnosed with MS.
Registration for the walk begins at 10:30 a.m. and the walk will start at 11 a.m. in the Dickinson Amphitheater. Registration will cost $7. The walk will circle the Brain and end back at the Amphitheater.
Deidre Mensah, a sophomore majoring in integrative neuroscience, said she is going to participate in the walk to help raise awareness about MS.
“I don’t see anything wrong with doing something in honor of someone who died, and to raise awareness to prevent someone else from dying,” Menash said.
Leanne DeLosh, co-vice president of service for APO, said the organization hopes that this year’s turnout will surpass last year’s.
“About 70 people attended the walk last year, and we expect 125 people outside of Alpha Phi Omega to attend this year,” DeLosh said.
She said APO also hopes to raise more donations than in prior years.
“Over the past two years, we have raised $1,200 and we are hoping to surpass that this year,” DeLosh said.
Throughout the week, APO has hosted a series of events leading up to the walk, including a fundraiser at Cold Stone Creamery in University Plaza Tuesday night and an informational session about pediatric MS at 7 p.m. last night in Lecture Hall 5. A Vestal resident discussed her familiarity with the disease at the session.
APO plans to donate the money it raises to the Stony Brook University Hospital where Matias used to work.
There will also be an event during Late Nite tonight in the Tillman Lobby of the Old University Union where attendees will craft orange ribbons in support of MS research and care.
DeLosh said she hopes that the Miles for Matias Walk will raise as much awareness about pediatric MS as possible.
“There are countless Greek organizations on this campus who can understand how close you get with your brothers and sisters and the bond you have with each other,” DeLosh said. “As a brotherhood, we are doing whatever it takes to honor our family member.”