Sometimes philanthropy is important to the community. And, sometimes, philanthropy hits even closer to the home. Brother Ryan Gilderman (San Diego State University, 2017) knows that all too well.
“My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was a sophomore. She fought it hard, had surgery and treatment and, I’m happy to say, is now fine and in remission. But, those were some tough times for me and my family. My Alpha Epsilon Pi SDSU brothers were always with me and supporting me. AEPi helped me get through that tough time,” said Brother Gilderman, a senior economic major from the Los Angeles area (who is looking for a job in the television industry).
Having served the Sigma Delta chapter as pledge master and risk manager, Ryan has recently been involved on the philanthropy committee. “Our philanthropy chair, Sam Spoden, had this idea to raise money for a local breast cancer organization and we went into our chapter meeting and asked the brothers how many of them had been personally impacted by breast cancer in their family and almost every one of us raised our hands. We knew that we should focus on this for one of our philanthropies.”
The chapter began working with Breast Cancer Angels, a Southern California group that provides financial and emotional assistance for breast cancer patients and their families as they are going through treatment.
The chapter set out to raise funds through a month-long series of fundraising events at local restaurants, campus events and other solicitation. Brother Gilderman was in charge of the Venmo drive, to make it easier for people to give through digital transfers. “Because of what this meant to me and my family, I set a personal goal to raise $1,000 and, in the end, I raised more than $3,000.”
In total, the chapter raised more than $10,000 for Breast Cancer Angels in just one month.
“My grandfather was master of his AEPi chapter at Mu Deuteron (Missouri) and was always a very important person in my life. When I got to campus here I looked around but something was always dragging me back to AEPi. They were the guys most like me and the most relatable to me.”
“It was strange to realize how many of us had moms or family members who had battled breast cancer. Raising money to directly help other people in my community who are going through that became very personal and very important to me and my brothers.”