Danielle Brown’s father, Bradley, was a hard-working man.
A USF alumnus from the late ’70s, Bradley worked for the Drug Enforcement Administration and lived with his family in Virginia after graduating from the criminal justice program at USF.
In 2006, Danielle’s freshman year in high school, Bradley was hospitalized and diagnosed with scleroderma, a chronic connective tissue disease that can have symptoms which include the hardening of the skin and damage to internal organs.
He could longer work and was only able to live at home.
In 2009, Bradley passed away at the age of 52 due to the disease.
On Tuesday evening, Danielle and the members of her sorority, Alpha Delta Pi (ADPi), and the Sigma Nu fraternity hosted the fifth annual “Spaghetti for Scleroderma” fundraiser in memory of Bradley and to raise donations and awareness for the disease, which is estimated to affect 300,000 Americans according to the Scleroderma Foundation.
“(The fundraiser) has grown each year,” Brown, a senior majoring in marketing, said. “… Last year we raised about $2,000. In total, we’ve raised about $10,000 throughout the years.”
With more than 300 guests served plates of spaghetti at $5 each, the event raised more than $3,000 this year.
Money raised during the event will be donated to the Scleroderma Foundation, Brown said. The event’s facebook page stated the organizations are working in the hopes that “money donated to the foundation will aid it in discovering better treatment and eventually a cure for scleroderma.”
Tyler Richter, one of the Sigma Nu coordinators for the event and a senior majoring in political science, said the event was important to his fraternity since Bradley was a Sigma Nu himself, member No. 250 of USF’s Theta Alpha chapter. Because of this relation, along with Danielle being in ADPi, Richter said many members of campus came to support the fundraiser.
“She’s the one who is mainly hosting this event, so it brings a lot of people out to see a heart-warming daughter supporting her family, supporting the disease trying to find more cures and donating to it,” Richter said.
Members of ADPi and Sigma Nu made hundreds of cookies and cooked spaghetti the day of the event.
“Because who doesn’t like spaghetti?” Richter said.
Brown said the fundraiser began in 2009 when she and her sister proposed the event to ADPi as a way to raise awareness for the disease that so recently took her father. She said the disease confined her father to their home and created casings around his organs, causing his digestive system to stop working and forced him to be fed through an IV.
She said the last picture she had with her father was from the night of her junior prom.
“It was hard for him during that time, but we were lucky to have him at home during that time,” she said. “I know he was happy though… to still see us growing as much as he could.”
Molly Croce, a junior majoring in psychology, said she and members of her sorority tried to get the word out to as many people as they could to support the event.
“The sisters of ADPi came to our chapter and said why they were doing this, and that’s the main reason we came out,” Croce said. “It’s so personal and means a lot to all of us.”