Grizzlies fight back with fundraising

Megan Murley made a “get well” banner for her uncle, Steven Utash. About 150 people signed the banner. 

A university campus has long served as a forum where brilliant minds meet and, hopefully, go on to promote the common good. However, student efforts are already aiming to help the community. Many use the method of fundraising to help support a cause.

Meghan Murley is a sophomore at Oakland University. She is also the niece of a man named Steven Utash, who, on April 2, was severely beaten by a mob in Detroit.

According to the Detroit Free Press, Utash was driving in his truck in the city when he hit a 10-year-old boy that stepped out in front of him. When Utash got out to see if the boy was okay, a crowd immediately formed and began attacking Utash.

He now is being treated for severe head injuries. The boy was also briefly hospitalized for leg and other injuries. The attack was widely reported and caused a public outcry within the city and beyond.

“I actually found out through Facebook,” Murley said. It was her cousin, Utash’s daughter, who had posted what had happened. She then had the news confirmed by her family.

“I was kind of in denial about it at first,” she admitted.

Murley said her friends in the fraternity Theta Chi came up with the idea to hold a fundraiser for Utash. They wanted to support her uncle using the fraternity’s philanthropy chapter, and so they set up a table in the Oakland Center in order to raise money.

Murley came up with the idea to display a huge “get well” banner that people could sign for Utash.

“It’s filled up pretty nicely,” she said.

In all, the banner received about 150 signatures. The group raised $567 in four days.

Murley said that her uncle’s status had not really improved since the incident. Sometimes he wakes up still thinking he is being attacked.He was still being held in intensive care, so she had not been able to visit him yet.

“I’m waiting to see him,” she said.

The Foley sisters were also fundraising for a goal. Kelley Foley and Erin Foley were gearing up to participate in a walk put on by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation on April 27. It was to be their third walk.

Going as a team this year, their joint goal was to raise $2000 to go towards research on cystic fibrosis (CF). On the day they were interviewed, they had acquired $1975—a mere $25 away from their goal.

The Foley family has had previous experience with cystic fibrosis, a genetic disease that can be fatal. Their father passed away from CF when they were little, and two of their aunts died from it in infancy. Now, the sisters walk in their memory.

“It’s weird,” Kelley said, “because it’s usually not the people that I think we expect to get donations from.”

She and Erin spoke of numerous occasions where people they barely interacted with had contributed to their goal. They described that as something truly special to them.

“They see something in our cause,” Kelley said.

The sisters took a mainly online approach to seek out donations, which included emailing their coworkers and creating an event page on Facebook to advertise their cause.

“Social media is really one of the best ways to get out to people nowadays,” Erin said. “If you can’t donate, just share [the page].”

She said that this was how their message had reached donors who otherwise would never even have known about it. As for the upcoming walk, they said that they were excited.

“This is the first year my friends can make it, so my roommate and my boyfriend are coming, too,” said Erin.