On Sunday, the Sigma Chi fraternity will host a fundraising event to benefit Mike Bakutes, a brother on medical leave for the semester after being diagnosed with a jaw tumor.
Gabe Adelman, vice president of UM’s chapter of Sigma Chi and Bakutes’ close friend and roommate, collaborated with a group of brothers to organize the event. They contacted parents of students in Sigma Chi and local businesses for donations and sponsorships; they expect around 500 participants for Sunday’s tournament.
“We were able to get a strong showing from not only parents and local businesses, but also students at the University of Miami, as well as Sigma Chi brothers from other chapters around the whole nation,” Adelman said.
Bakutes was diagnosed with Juvenile Ossifying Fibroma, a rare tumor that has the potential to spread beyond his jaw. He will be treated surgically over the next six months and hopes to return to Miami for the spring semester.
“We’re a very tight-knit group of people,” Sigma Chi President Taylor Morrow said. “When we heard about Mike, we all wanted to do something for him because we want what’s best for him.”
Senior Jeremy Turin, another Sigma Chi brother, had the idea to start this fundraiser when he received an e-mail over the summer informing him of Bakutes’ illness. He and his friends wanted to organize a large-scale event to raise money for Bakutes, yet he was surprised by the response he received from the UM community.
“It’s been more work than we expected because the response has been at least 500 percent bigger than what we anticipated,” Turin said. “It’s been really overwhelming to see that everyone is trying to help out.”
Half the proceeds of the tournament will be donated to Bakutes’ family to offset medical costs; the other half will be donated to the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, per the family’s request. Sigma Chi has already raised about $3,000 in donations.
“It really brings joy to me, as well as the Bakutes family, to see this kind of support from the community and is a testament to the character of the people at the school as well as around it,” Adelman said.
Dana Hatic may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.