Sorority shoots to fund research for arthritis

Shaikha Almawlani
Staff Writer

The La Verne chapter of Alpha Omicron Pi sorority conducted its annual philanthropy event “Dunk Out Arthritis,” Friday in Sneaky Park.

Every year, the sorority’s other chapters are known for having a “Strike Out Arthritis” event that involves a baseball tournament to raise money for the disease.

“We’ve decided to do something a little different,” said senior psychology major Morgan Craig. “It was strike out arthritis with baseball, so we thought why don’t we do dunk out arthritis with donuts, like Dunkin Donuts, and basketballs to do something a little new and a little refreshing to kind of liven up the campus.”

Rachel Fox, sophomore anthropology major and vice president of external operations, manages the organization’s philanthropy events. She said the idea for the event suffered a lot of bumps in the road.

“We had a bunch of other ideas,” Fox said. “Dates just didn’t work out, so it kind of came down to what is something that’s kind of fun and original that would get people to come out.”

Unlike most events organized by sororities on campus, Dunk Out Arthritis was designed in a way where anyone could join without prior planning of players and teams and did not require early sign ups. The tournament was organized as a series of 1 on 1 games, and donuts were sold on the side. La Verne staff and faculty, including Director of Residence Life and Student Conduct Eugene Shang and Biology Instructor Pablo Weaver, even joined in on the fun.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recognizes arthritis as common, expensive, and leading cause of disability. It causes painful inflammations and stiffness of the joints that prevents individuals from day-to-day activities and may lead to their need of both physical and technical assistance.

“Approximately 24 million adults with arthritis had activity limitations attributable to arthritis,” according to a Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report on Prevalence of Doctor-Diagnosed Arthritis and Arthritis-Attributable Activity Limitation.

Craig said her and her sisters’ desire to raise money for research on the disease comes from the many children who are diagnosed.

“It truly is an epidemic,” Craig said. “A lot of children are getting diagnosed more and more, and we just want to do what we can to help them live a better life.”

Emilie Brekke, sophomore political science major and president of Alpha Omicron Pi, said she leaned toward joining Alpha Omicron Pi due to her family’s history with arthritis.

“It runs in my family,” Brekke said. “My grandma had a lot of surgeries for arthritis, and then my dad started to get it in his shoulder. It’s genetic.”

According to a medically reviewed article on Healthline, arthritis can be prevented by being proactive and aware of one’s likelihood of developing the disease, in addition to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

“Using confidence and skills learned in self-management education workshops can help reduce pain, fatigue, and depression by 10 percent to 20 percent,” according to the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report on Prevalence of Doctor-Diagnosed Arthritis and Arthritis-Attributable Activity Limitation.

Brekke said she hopes this event is successful at raising awareness about the disease.

“I hope this really just spreads more awareness about our philanthropy and just about arthritis in general and get AOII name out a bit more,” Brekke said.

Shaikha Almawlani can be reached at

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