On Wednesday, March 21, Student Association (SA) hosted “Buddy’s Casino Night” in the TSAR.
SA became aware of Buddy Miller, an eight-year-old from New Lothrop, from a family friend who has been using social media to spread the word about Miller’s predicament.
After falling on his school’s playground on Jan. 11, 2017, Miller was taken to the hospital and diagnosed with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG), a rare and inoperable brain tumor. Buddy was given a year to live.
Second-year biology student and SA philanthropy chair Caitlin Coulter hosted the event.
“Remington Bennett came to us,” Coulter said. “She’s family friends with the Millers, and she came to us with the idea of doing a fundraiser.”
Refusing to accept Buddy’s sentence, the Millers eventually found an experimental chemotherapy regimen in Monterrey, Mexico, but Buddy’s total expenses would be $234,000, not including airfare, lodging or food for the family to stay in Mexico with him.
To raise funds, SA decided to host a casino night.
“Planning was great,” Coulter said. “We started a couple months ago, gathering prizes and things like that, and then advertising.”
Attendees paid $5 to play in euchre, poker and blackjack tournaments.
“We’ve had donations from Global Tan as well as Stardust Lanes and the Bay Mills Casino,” Coulter said. “Bay Mills Casino donated a two-night’s stay as well as play money. Stardust Lanes donated a five-people-for-two-hours pass for bowling, and Global Tan donated a one-month, level-one tanning membership.”
Leading up to the event, Coulter focused on promotion.
“The biggest challenge with all events is advertisement and getting students to come out,” Coulter said. “It’s easy to get everything planned, but it’s sometimes tough to get the students to come out and pay, which I understand. It’s late in the semester, and people are busy with exams and things like that.”
Coulter and others involved enjoyed being able to be help the Miller family directly.
“For SA, this is a cool event because, a lot of times, when we help people, it’s a broad scheme of people,” Coulter said.