Fraternity to raise awareness of muscular dystrophy at football game

One fraternity will be doing more than tailgating before the UK versus Florida football game on Saturday.

Pi Kappa Alpha is hosting the national Coach to Cure MD program, which raises money to benefit research and awareness of Duchenne muscular dystrophy in boys. More than 300 colleges that will be hosting football games this weekend are also raising awareness of the charity.

Lee O’Connor, the UK chapter’s president and an integrated strategic communication senior, said this is their first year participating in the philanthropy.

“It’s a national thing, a lot of coaches are involved,” O’Connor said.  “(Pi Kappa Alpha’s) national headquarters is teaming up with the Coach to Cure MD foundation and has asked all the chapters to volunteer their time
and effort this weekend.”

The program is working with the American Football Coaches Association and the Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy. In 2008, the AFCA made the program one of their charity efforts.

According to the Mayo Clinic Web site, muscular dystrophy weakens voluntary and breathing muscles. Duchenne muscular dystrophy largely affects boys from 2 to 6 years old.

Spencer Maxwell, an integrated strategic communications senior and Pi Kappa Alpha’s treasurer, said more than 30 members of the fraternity would be handing out flyers and giving people information about the charity on Saturday. Maxwell said promoting the event before the football game would get the word out quickly.

“There’s many people to talk to while they’re tailgating,” Maxwell said. “We thought we could reach a large audience.”

The fraternity is also raising money after the game by inviting people to The Penguin Dueling Piano Bar on West Main Street, where a percentage of the cover will go to the Coach to Cure MD program.

“It’s basically $1 of every person’s cover charge is going to the philanthropy. It will be $5 all night on Saturday,” said Penguin co-owner Craig Hays.

Hays said on a busy Saturday night the bar attracts 400 to 500 people, but expects the fraternity to attract an additional 150.

O’Connor said the fraternity will set up stations around Commonwealth to promote the charity on Saturday.

“(The program) really appealed to me. These kids watch sports on the sidelines,” O’Connor said. “Some people take that for granted.”