Phi Delta Theta to become ‘Iron Phis’

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Brothers of the Georgia Gamma Chapter of the Phi Delta Theta Fraternity will be participating in Iron Phi, a race to benefit the fight against ALS on Feb. 13, at the Mercedes Marathon in Birmingham, Ala.

Adam Lewis, a brother of Phi Delta Theta and a runner in the event, said, “I wanted to be an Iron Phi from the first time I saw it.” He said the challenge was a large part of what inspired him to take on this event.

Lewis and other brothers of Mercer’s chapter decided to take on this challenge after Phi Delta Theta headquarters reached out to all of the Southeastern presidents about the opportunity in Birmingham.

Fuji Islom, another Iron Phi runner, said, “This is the first time that I am participating in the Iron Phi. I am running in the gym three times a week.”

Lewis, along with another participant, Andrew Karas, will begin his training next week and will be in the gym every night.

ALS is a “progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord.” The disease is also named for Lou Gehrig, a Major League Baseball Hall of Famer, who was the first person to be formally diagnosed with ALS. Gehrig was a brother of Phi Delta Theta and was known as the “Iron Horse” because of his perseverance and determination in all that he did. In honor of Gehrig, the name Iron Phi was given to the cause to encourage members to remember his “never-give-up attitude” when seeking to achieve a goal.

Lewis said the fight against ALS is very personal to him because he has seen it affect someone he knows. He said, “My sister’s best friend’s dad was diagnosed with ALS while she was in middle school and he has just recently started to show major symptoms. His ability to live a normal life has been extremely impaired by the effects. Seeing that firsthand is horrible, and for it to happen to somebody I respect is even worse, so I know that’ll keep me going on the last few miles.”

To become an “Iron Phi,” members of Phi Delta Theta select an athletic event, such as a half-marathon or triathlon, raise $1,000 for the cause, and accomplish the event itself.

Through this experience, Islom said he will know that his fundraising helped people with ALS and the search for its cure.

Lewis said it is up to younger brothers to decide whether or not they will continue to participate in the future. “I hope the legacy of this run and my time as an Iron Phi can be a source of inspiration for many Phis in the future to continue the fight against ALS.”

Anyone interested in donating can visit ironphi.org or contact Adam Lewis for on-campus donations. Donations can be made by check or cash and are greatly appreciated.

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