Twenty thousand votes for $20,000 and Virginia Tech students did it all for a local high school teen. It was just this past August that Patrick Day, a 16-year-old Blacksburg High School student, was paralyzed due to a stroke in his spinal cord. He has been in the hospital ever since.
Two weeks ago members of Fraternity and Sorority Life, a department within Virginia Tech’s Division of Student Affairs, began doing what they do best--engaging the community with philanthropy. It was the Virginia Tech chapter of the Delta Zeta sorority that created "Play for Patrick" at the online competition website, "GrabLife, GiveLife."
The website, sponsored by Dodge Motor Co., encourages college students from across the country to participate and offers students and university-affiliated organizations the opportunity to nominate philanthropic events. Students who registered with the website were allowed to vote once every 24 hours. The first event to receive 20,000 votes is awarded $20,000 by Dodge, for their cause.
Once the word started spreading throughout campus about Day and his cause, it took only two weeks for Virginia Tech students to prove that giving back to the community really is a way of life. The votes started to roll in. On Monday, Nov. 5, it was official, "Play for Patrick" had received the most votes. Soon Day and his family will receive $20,000.
Richelle Holland, a member of the Virginia Tech chapter of the Delta Zeta sorority, created “Play for Patrick” after learning about his condition. “We’re extremely happy that we are able to help Patrick and his family in such a big way. I really want to thank everyone who voted," said Holland.
Kim Radford, a teacher at Blacksburg High School, helped organize a fundraising event in October that raised $7,400 for Day’s family. She says she is impressed by the effort put forth by Virginia Tech students to help Day's cause win the online competition.
“For people who don’t even know Patrick and to take an interest in him is pretty amazing,” said Radford. “Without the Delta Zeta sorority, it wouldn’t have happened. They really put the word out. For him to have gotten this $20,000 is incredible.”
Radford says that for Day to be able to return home from the hospital, renovations must be made to his house so he can maneuver in his wheelchair, and that the money could be helpful for remodeling costs.
“This is really a blessing for his family to be able to get him home,” Radford said. While the competition prize will be an enormous help to Day’s family, they can still use support from the entire community.
Stephanie Haugen-Ray, a senior majoring in Communication in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, also contributed to this story.