AOPi fundraiser at Tangi Lanes works to strike out juvenile arthritis

Kevin Cazes from team Cash Me Outside finishes throwing the bowling ball. He was one of 250 participants to take part in Strike Out Arthritis. The event looked to spread awareness about juvenile arthritis. 
Nikisun Shrestha/The Lion’s Roar

Alpha Omicron Pi brought together juvenile arthritis awareness and bowling to host Strike Out Arthritis at Tangi Lanes this past weekend.

On Saturday Apr. 8 the fundraiser took place starting at 8 a.m. The participants came in numbers for the cause.

“I think it’s going pretty well,” said Ali LeBourgeois, coordinator of the event. “We have over 70 sponsors. We had over 300 people register. We had about 250 show up. So, this is one of the biggest events we’ve had. We also incorporated things such as our raffle baskets and Camp MASH drive.”

Each of the 80 members of AOPi formed their own team for the event. Registration was made public to boost the number of participants.

Lou Hutchinson, who is 75 years old and a member of The Strikers enjoyed the event.

“It’s really good,” said Hutchinson. “It’s good lanes here and the ladies behind the counter are really nice. It’s been just a blast. It’s a great cause. Children’s arthritis needs all the help they can get.”  

Hutchinson described her past experience with bowling as well.

“I used to bowl on a bowling lane about 30 years ago,” said Hutchinson. “Our team made it to regionals and we didn’t finish after that, but that’s okay. I have managed to bowl a 500 game.”

However, her participation in the event was a complete coincidence.

“My granddaughter, Fallon, is in AOPi,” said Hutchinson. “She has invited me not knowing I knew how to bowl, but she invited me to come play with her today and I love it. It’s so much fun.” 

LeBourgeois explained what inspired her to organize the event and how the event took shape.

“This past summer, I had the opportunity to go to a summer camp for kids with arthritis,” said LeBourgeois. “That’s what inspired me to run for this office and do this. Actually, one of my campers is here today. So, it’s kind of cool I get to share this experience with her. It’s basically like a chapter. I was the head of it. I have some advisors to help me. So between us three, we put it together. I also do owe credit to five of my friends, who have been there the whole time.” 

According to The Arthritis Foundation, juvenile arthritis consists of autoimmune and inflammatory conditions or pediatric rheumatic diseases that can develop in children under the age of 16. This condition affects nearly 300,000 children in the United States. Some of the common symptoms of this condition include pain, joint swelling, redness and warmth. However, each type of juvenile arthritis has its distinct and special concerns and symptoms. 

LeBourgeois wants the awareness of this condition to grow on campus. She is graduating next year and hopes the event grows in the future.

“I’m hoping the person that takes the office after makes it grow,” said LeBourgeois. “Our main goal is to branch out to Southeastern community. We tried it this year, but we had only a few students sign up. But we really want a community involvement.”

Nikisun Shrestha/The Lion's Roar