The third-annual Dropping the Puck on Cancer charity hockey game at Indiana University has a special meaning for Andrew Esstman, INDIANA 2013. He lost his mother to brain cancer in 2007, and this year, he and his Sigma Chi brothers have been dropping their hockey gloves to fight the ugly disease.
The undergraduate Sigs at Indiana teamed up with their opponent in the game, the local Beta Theta Pi Fraternity chapter, to set a 2013 fundraising goal of $20,000 to benefit the American Brain Tumor Association.
As of late February, the two chapters were on the right track to reaching their goal, which would almost double last year’s $11,700 amount that was donated to support colon cancer research.
“There is a tremendous respect in our chapter for Andrew Esstman,” says Dropping The Puck On Cancer co-president Matt Myers, INDIANA 2013. “I have definitely seen a huge impact on fundraising efforts because we have a direct relation [with Andrew being in our chapter] to the cause of fighting brain cancer. Our motivation to succeed is really over the top this year.”
The event started in 2011, when a group of Sigma Chi chapter brothers who played hockey in high school wanted to relive their “glory days,” as they put it, and — in just four weeks — planned a game against members of the Beta Theta Pi Fraternity. The event raised $2,600 for the Big Man On Campus philanthropic event of the Zeta Tau Alpha women’s fraternity and the university’s dance marathon.
In 2012, the Sigs and Beta Theta Pi put together a more organized effort, and tickets sold out in less than 60 hours to support colon cancer research. This year, tickets sold out in 2 hours, 47 minutes, and a packed Frank Southern Ice Arena, where the event is hosted in Bloomington, Ind., became a reality. “I think a lot of [the event’s success] is a true testament to what Matt [Myers] has done,” Esstman said. “It’s really impressive to watch Matt’s passion, not only for hockey, but to the cause [of fighting brain cancer] as well.”
The Sigs and Betas raised this year’s large total through ticket sales, corporate and individual monetary donations and auction and prize donations — including signed NHL all-star jerseys, a basketball signed by Kobe Bryant and signed memorabilia by Significant Sig Luke Bryan, GEORGIA SOUTHERN 1999 — and increased fundraising competition among the sororities and women’s fraternities on campus.
While the two fraternities have combined their talents to succeed in creating awareness for brain cancer research, Sigma Chi is hoping to defeat Beta Theta Pi for a third straight year on the ice. “I would say that on campus they are our friendly rivals,” Myers says. “We are hoping for a three-peat this year.”
Anyone interested in donating to the event can go to droppingthepuck.com and click on the “donate” tab on the homepage. For larger donations, contact Myers at (317) 590-6844 or mattmyer@indiana.edu.