Fraternity changes philanthropy for brother

Phi Gamma Delta will gamble for a new cause this Saturday at Casino Night to honor and support one of its own members.Nathan Mitchell, a sophomore neuroscience major, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis last fall and has inspired members in his fraternity to join him in fighting the disease, said Connor Sanders, a junior supply and value chain management major and former president of the fraternity.

Money raised at Casino Night and all other philanthropy events will now benefit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, a research center dedicated to finding a cure for the disease, said Sanders, who is chairman of the event. Students and alumni can join Phi Gamma Delta from 9 p.m. to 12 a.m. Saturday at River Crest Country Club for poker, blackjack and Russian roulette, Sanders said.

Today there is no cure for multiple sclerosis, said Sanders, who decided to change the philanthropy because of something Mitchell said to him last fall.

“After Nathan told me about his diagnosis, he said, ‘If anything, this will give me more motivation to become a doctor,'” Sanders said. “The thing about Nathan is he’s got a great attitude.”

The pathology of multiple sclerosis is something Mitchell studies as a neuroscience major, he said.

“Predicting what will happen is more of an art than a science because multiple sclerosis is person-specific,” Mitchell said. “Doctors have to look at each person individually to see what they need.”

Discovering he had multiple sclerosis at age 19 was “a huge shocker,” he said. Most people are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50. The most difficult part is trying to get the recommended eight to 10 hours of sleep every night, said Mitchell, who used to sleep two to three hours before tests.

Parents, alumni and businesses donated prizes and money for students and alumni to win at Casino Night, Sanders said. Tickets are $10 at the door and anyone is welcome, Sanders said.

For the members of the fraternity, Casino Night has become more personal this time and has received a great response, Sanders said.

“I feel very supported because this is something I’m going to have to deal with the rest of my life,” Mitchell said. “It wasn’t a pat on the back; it was them saying, ‘we’re going to take actual steps to help you get through this.'”

Thomas White, a junior radio-TV-film major, said everyone is just trying to support their brother.

“We just want to show everyone, especially Mitchell, that we are one,” White said.