Delta Delta Delta sorority (TriDelt) raised more than $3,500 for Sawyer Perkins, a 5-year-old girl from Richmond battling an aggressive form of brain cancer.

Sawyer is now a patient at St. Jude Children’s Hospital, a nonprofit organization which provides free care, but her family still faces high medical costs from two previous surgeries at the University of Virginia Health System. 

“They’re an average family with an unaverage situation,” Kate Lafayette, co-philanthropy chair of TriDelt, said.

The chapter usually raises money for Alex’s Lemonade Stand, an organization that contributes to childhood cancer research, but this year they decided to help a local family. 

On Sept. 3, 15 TriDelt members volunteered at a block party held to benefit Sawyer and her family. Local businesses supported the event and many Richmond families also came to show their support. 

“The whole Richmond community has been so generous,” Katie Pineau, president of TriDelt, said. 

The sorority also held a bake sale at the Sept. 9 football game. 

“Even people from the opposing team donated,” Pineau said. “The generosity of the community is beyond our greatest expectations.”

The bake sale continued until Wednesday of the same week, with the sorority tabling outside of the Tyler Haynes Commons. The bake sale didn’t have fixed prices, but “people were ready to give to a great cause,” Lafayette said.

Donations primarily came from individual students, but two fraternities, Lambda Chi Alpha and Theta Chi, donated lump sums to the cause. 

“I am so amazed at the generosity of our student body,” Jackie Arnold, co-philanthropy chair of TriDelt, said. “I can’t say enough how generous everyone was.”

Although the goal was to raise $1,000, the sorority more than tripled their goal within the first week of fundraising.  The money will be donated to Sawyer’s family to help defray the financial burden of her medical bills.

TriDelt is hosting their annual DHOP fundraiser for St. Jude’s next month, which will benefit Sawyer and other patients at the hospital. The sorority plans to continue to stay in touch with Sawyer and her family and help in whatever ways they can.

“Especially with the climate on campus right now, it’s really amazing that so many people have come together for Sawyer,” Pineau said.

Contact reporter Claire Mendelson at claire.mendelson@richmond.edu