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Maroon Focus: SICH Helps Local Battle Rare Disease


Staff Writer

As advertised in Colket and around campus, Students Interested in health careers has been sponsoring events at Salem Pizza for Drew Bennett. SIHC is a dual organization of SIHC and Alpha Epsilon Delta. Last spring, Roanoke College received a chapter from AED, a national pre-health honor society.

SIHC and AED are active in sponsoring events related to the health field. Some of these include volunteering at the Bradley Free Clinic in Roanoke and at the Ronald McDonald House. The organization also works to bring medical professionals in many different fields to campus for panel discussions.

 This past semester, the group’s attention was turned to Drew Bennett, a seven-year old boy who lives in the Roanoke Valley. He suffers from Pseudo-Obstruction. Pseudo-Obstruction is a total colonic motility disorder of which Bennett was diagnosed with when he was two years old. Bennett has a non-working stomach and small intestine, and, after multiple surgeries, he is having another surgery to remove his large intestine. His family has medical bills adding up to over $4 million.

Bennett’s story was so inspiring that SIHC decided to make his case their philanthropy. Now, Bennett’s family SIHC and AED are working to raise money for Bennett and his family. SIHC has sponsored many events in order to raise funds for Bennett’s health care. Also last semester, SIHC held a silent auction, bake sale, car wash, as well as placed jars at local businesses. This semester, SIHC has already sponsored an event at Salem Pizza where ten percent of the proceeds went to Bennett’s cause. Fundraising efforts at this event brought in $250. So far, SIHC has made a great dent in the Bennetts’ medical bills by raising over $1000. The efforts continue with a day at Xinachtli on Main Street this Tue., March 1, 2011 from 1-3:30 p.m. In hopes of raising a considerable amount of money, SIHC will sponsor more events including a yard sale, car wash, and letter campaign. SIHC also plans to announce a walk that will happen in late March.

The Salem Pizza event brought in more than just money for Bennett, it brought in a new kind of hope. He, his older brother, and his dad came to Salem Pizza last Wed. with gratitude for the efforts of SIHC. The family wants to play a significant role in fundraising efforts by attending as many events as possible.

The president of SIHC, Nick Bonenfant ’11 said, “Drew’s family was overjoyed at the level of support.”

The overall goals of SIHC are worth the effort of students at RC because it will continue to make a serious difference for the Bennett family. Bonenfant hopes to help to spread the word about this little boy and the upcoming events. If you want to read more about Drew visit his website at prayfordrew.com.