Students all over campus came to participate in the walk. (Sarah Stewart)

By Chad Abshire

The sisters of Chi Omega hosted their ninth annual Walking for Wishes charity walk Friday, Sept. 24, to raise money for a 17-year-old girl named Autumn. Autumn is a Wish Child that was assigned to Chi Omega by the Make-a-Wish Foundation, which is the sorority’s philanthropy.

There was a good turnout at Eastern’s Tom Samuels Track, with each person being charged $3 at the entrance in order to participate in the event as well as take place in a silent auction and enjoy free food.

Carlye Michael, 21, of Centerville, Ohio, coordinated the event.

“The Walk is a party to celebrate them [the Wish Child],” Michael said. “It means the world to them.”

Autumn, Chi Omega’s Wish Child, could not be in attendance.

“She’s feeling very sick and it breaks my heart that she couldn’t be here,” Michael said.

Autumn, who is from Lexington and will be attending Eastern in January, has been diagnosed with ovarian germ cell cancer. Her wish was for her and her family to go to Disney World. Because of that, the Walk had a Disney theme to it, with two sisters from Chi Omega dressed as Goofy and Captain Hook, and Disney songs being played as people walked the track.

Stephanie Verwys, senior development officer for the Make-a-Wish Foundation, represented Chi Omega’s philanthropy at the track. She said the Walk had earned more than $100,000 since it was first hosted at Eastern nine years ago.

“They make a real difference,” she said.

The Make-a-Wish Foundation will grant 165 wishes this year.

“It’s a wonderful thing to see young people taking time out of their busy lives, making a difference in a child’s life,” Verwys said.

The Chi Omegas in Kentucky, she added, are the largest fundraising Chi Omegas in the country.

Another sorority, Kappa Alpha Theta, made an announcement halfway into the walk. They had a surprise for Chi Omega.

They donated a check for $416 for Kelly Harty, a Chi Omega sister who is undergoing chemo. The surprise brought thunderous applause.

In the end, Michael said Friday’s Walk raised nearly $24,000.