Phi Mu uses giant beach ball to raise money for Children's Miracle Network

Charlotte Bodak/Staff Photographer Trenton sophomore Dori Castignola signs a giant beach ball after donating to the Children's Miracle Network in front of Anspach Tuesday afternoon. "I was like whoa what is this," said Castignola. "It's for such a good cause so I figured I'd donate and sign it."

The sisters of Central Michigan University's Phi Mu chapter have been "having a ball" with their latest philanthropy idea.

The sorority has escorted a massive beach ball around campus, asking students to sign their names on it for a $1 donation. All proceeds will be donated to the Children's Miracle Network hospitals, and the ball, which stands more than six feet tall, will be given to Pullen Elementary School, 251 S. Brown St., in Mount Pleasant. The group isn't sure how much money they will raise, but hope the attention will bring people to sign.

"Most of (the students) have been shocked and amazed and have had their cell phones out taking pictures," said Grand Haven senior Brittany Sheffield. "They've never really seen something like this on campus before."

Sheffield said she got the idea for the giant ball from another Phi Mu chapter in Mississippi that had success with the event. She said when the ball was first blown up and barely fit in the sorority house, they knew students would be intrigued.

The charity, Children's Miracle Network, has been raising money to provide children with medical treatment since 1983. Phi Mu does not have a set amount of money to raise.

"As for the ball, we're donating it to a local elementary school right by the hospital," Sheffield said. "The gym teacher knows (the ball) is coming, so I'm sure she's going to plan some fun activities for the students."


Junior Julie Gillespie and freshman Allie Lichtenstein, both Phi Mu sorority members from Illinois, walk around campus and have people sign their beach ball and take donations to support Children's Miracle Network Tuesday afternoon. (Charlotte Bodak/Staff Photographer)

Shelby Township senior Kristina Hermann said her sorority was having fun with the ball, and it was first inflated in the Charles V. Park Library parking lot with a hairdryer. Hermann said she was excited to donate both the money and ball to children.

"I think (Children's Miracle Network) is a really good thing," Hermann said. "Some parents just can't afford to take care of their children when they're sick, so it's really nice to have one less worry in the house when that happens."

Rochester sophomore Rachel Boreo saw the giant ball from a distance before deciding to donate $1 to the cause and sign her name.

"The ball definitely got my attention, and I had to come see what was going on," Boreo said. "It's definitely a good cause and it looks like it's working, judging by all the names."

For more information on Children's Miracle Network, visit the website.


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