For the past two decades, the Mississippi Beta Chapter of Phi Delta Theta has been very active in donating both time and money to The ALS Association. By hosting events such as an annual volleyball tournament, crawfish boils, and chicken biscuit late nights, the fraternity was able to raise thousands of dollars for our national philanthropy.
This year, though, the chapter wanted to do something different. They wanted to go back to the drawing board and craft a unique event that would have a broader reach. Many philanthropy projects were considered, but there was an enthusiasm gap. That is, until the chapter learned more about Brother Ralph Doxey. Ralph was initiated in January 2000 and now lives with his wife Megan in Tupelo, Mississippi.
In late 2013, the chapter received the news that Ralph was diagnosed with ALS. Also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, ALS is a crippling condition that causes the body’s muscles to rapidly deteriorate and, for which, there is currently no cure. When this news reached the active chapter, they saw the perfect opportunity to make a serious impact on the life of one of their own. With that, the chapter’s philanthropic efforts took on a new sense of urgency.
With assistance from countless alumni and parents, the chapter decided that the best way to help Ralph was to bring something new to the MSU community—the innaugural Casino Royale night, with all of the proceeds benefitting their fraternity brother. The event took place at Historic Hotel Chester in Starkville on Saturday, March 21, 2014 and was an incredible success. Thanks to unwavering support from parents and outstanding alumni, nearly 350 people showed up to the event, including Ralph and his family. On top of the fourteen blackjack and three roulette tables, over twenty silent auction items were available, ranging from gift cards from local businesses to Memphis Grizzlies box seats. The event offered a unique chance for the active chapter to get to know the men who came before them and to work with them toward a common goal—helping their fraternity brother. Because of this support, the chapter was able to more than double internal fundraising goals. They delivered a check for $23,000 to Ralph and Megan during their formal chapter meeting on Monday, April 7, 2014.
The active chapter would like to say a special thank you to all of the people who not only attended and contributed, but helped to coordinate the event and make it such a success. To Ralph and his family, the chapter deeply appreciates your participation in the event and offers its prayers and support. Even in his college days, Ralph understood that fraternity runs much deeper than just the undergraduate years. What he knew to be inherently true of the chapter became very real to all who were involved as they had the honor and privilege of hosting this important event.