TEMPE, Ariz. — Nearly four dozen members of the ASU fraternity, Phi Gamma Delta (FIJI), plan to shave their heads Sunday in support of the Center for Rare Childhood Disorders (the Center) at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), an affiliate of City of Hope.
The “Shave to Save” fundraiser was created in memory of Jim Harris, a “Graduate Brother” of the FIJI’s and the Vice President of Business Development for TGen. Prior to his passing from a progressive neurodegenerative disease in 2020, Jim asked that any memorial gifts be donated to TGen’s Center, which uses genomic sequencing to decode patients’ DNA and discover the cause of their unique disorder.
“We take our commitment to brotherhood and the community in which we live to heart, and are proud to honor Jim’s wishes by carrying on his legacy to give back,” said Taylor Dintzner, President of ASU’s FIJI chapter. “The fact that 67% of our members stepped up to shave their heads to raise money for TGen speaks to the level of passion and commitment we have to achieving our fundraising goal and to make a difference in the lives of others.”
Besides the fact that Jim Harris was a member of the FIJI’s while he attended ASU, a current member of the fraternity, Braeden Belnap, is the cousin of Seth Belnap, a boy who was diagnosed at TGen’s Center with a mitochondrial disorder that sapped his energy.
“Today, Seth lives with far fewer complications and restrictions to his life. This could not have been accomplished without the doctors at the Center,” said Dintzner, an honors student majoring in Finance at ASU’s WP Carey School of Business.
The fraternity’s efforts also are motivated by the opportunity to help Jim Harris’s grandson, Harrison, who was diagnosed at the Center with a rare form of epilepsy. Now 15 years old, Harrison is able to experience a richer and fuller life as a result of TGen’s care.
Giving website and video about why they are helping
ASU’s FIJI’s have established a fundraising page: give.tgen.org/fiji, which includes a video detailing why they are supporting TGen’s Center.
Since their fundraising page launched Nov. 1, the FIJI’s have already raised more than $39,000, putting in reach their goal of $50,000.
In addition to Shave to Save, FIJI’s are joining ASU sororities in raising funds for TGen through their “Phi Gam Bubble Jam,” a bubble soccer tournament from 2-5 p.m. Nov. 14 at the Sun Devils Fitness Complex: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1k82lIcQC9GQci0N0AbN5kH7peaWj512xumPFNix52Nc/edit
At least 47 members of FIJI will gather from 6-9 p.m. Nov. 14 at ASU’s Memorial Union (Ventana Ballroom C) to have their heads shaved in support of TGen.
“We are fully committed to TGen’s Center and how TGen uses the power of the human genome to help children now and for generations to come,” Dintzner said. “It is a privilege to be part of their efforts.”
Amiee Lay, Events Manager for the TGen Foundation, added, “What a pleasant surprise to have these enterprising ASU students, willing to take part in something larger than themselves, and then to proudly display their shaven heads for all to see, spreading awareness of how TGen’s Center is helping children with rare disorders, every day.”
For more information, or to donate or help with fundraising, please contact her at 602-343-8502 or 760-310-6023, or email her at [email protected]
About TGen, an affiliate of City of Hope
Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) is a Phoenix, Arizona-based nonprofit organization dedicated to conducting groundbreaking research with life-changing results. TGen is affiliated with City of Hope, a world-renowned independent research and treatment center for cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases: CityofHope.org. This precision medicine affiliation enables both institutes to complement each other in research and patient care, with City of Hope providing a significant clinical setting to advance scientific discoveries made by TGen. TGen is focused on helping patients with neurological disorders, cancer, diabetes and infectious diseases through cutting-edge translational research (the process of rapidly moving research toward patient benefit). TGen physicians and scientists work to unravel the genetic components of both common and complex rare diseases in adults and children. Working with collaborators in the scientific and medical communities worldwide, TGen makes a substantial contribution to help our patients through efficiency and effectiveness of the translational process. For more information, visit: tgen.org. Follow TGen on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter @TGen.
TGen Senior Science Writer