This weekend fraternity members helped fund a surgery that might help fix one man’s heart.
Kappa Sigma fraternity had its second annual “Ballz in Yo Face” dodgeball tournament Saturday at the recreation center.
Last year, the fraternity raised money for Hurricane Katrina relief. This year, all the proceeds from the tournament will help fund open-heart surgery for 30-year-old Zach Hunter of Blaine, a friend of the Kappa Sigma fraternity.
Ryan Hopper, Kappa Sigma philanthropy guard, said he has known Hunter for a long time and has been friends with Hunter’s younger brother, James Hunter. Zach Hunter even got him his first job.
“His brother is in Kappa Sigma at Florida State, so we decided this year to help him out – a friend in need,” Hopper said.
He said it’s much more motivating when people can see where the money is going.
Hopper, who said he is nervous about Hunter’s open-heart surgery, said he only wishes he could raise more money for him.
The tournament raised $1,150, which will pay some of the out-of-pocket costs of the surgery.
Hunter, a carpenter, had his first open-heart surgery in December to have a valve repaired and is having the surgery again to have split stitching fixed.
The surgery requires a four-month recovery and two months of heart therapy, Hunter said.
Because of restrictions on how much weight he can lift after the surgery, Hunter will be out of work for at least four months.
“I couldn’t even hold my 2-month daughter because of weight restrictions,” Hunter said. “It was really hard.”
It was overwhelming to see so many students participate, he said.
“I don’t even know anyone here,” he said.
Hunter said he appreciated the students coming out because paying for the surgery is a great burden.
Although he has health insurance, a large portion of the money still comes out of his own pocket, and not being able to work for four months adds up, he said.
“I’m getting nervous about the surgery, even though it is my second time,” he said. “I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.”
Jim Sorbel, Zach Hunter’s stepfather, said a dodgeball tournament fundraiser is a great idea because it gets a lot of students involved.
“It’s really gratifying to see the level of support,” he said. “Even if they don’t know (Zach), to come out and show that they care by participating.”
Participants paid $60 per team to play in the double-elimination tournament, which offered a $100 STA Travel gift certificate for first prize.
The tournament included 19 teams, many of which where fraternity- and sorority-dominated, and a high school team.
Biomedical engineering sophomore Dan Schober said he played in the tournament with his roommate for fun.
He said he loved dodgeball in high school and since his roommate knew Hopper, they gave their support.
“I think it’s an awesome idea that it’s dodgeball,” he said. “Do something fun, instead of just asking for money.”