Society

Fraternity's Relationship With Sick Kid Never Forgotten

| by Shani Shahmoon

During her stay at Ronald Reagan Hospital, little Lexi Brown made a public plea for pizza. She had no idea that the little sign on her hospital room window would result in a blossoming relationship between her and UCLA's Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity.

The Independent Journal Review reported that since July 2014, 12-year-old Lexi had been battling cancer. Her most recent relapse had tragically affected her heart function and caused her to be airlifted to the nearest hospital where she had a clear view of UCLA's fraternity row.

Whether it was a craving or just an abhorrent distaste for hospital food, Lexi and her mother wrote a plea for pizza on a piece of paper and taped it onto the girl's hospital room window.

When brothers at the Sigma Alpha Epsilon at the University of California Los Angeles caught word of the plea, they decided to come to Lexi's rescue armed with a guitar, roses and a box of fresh hot pizza, Lexi's mother described.

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Throughout her time at Reagan, Lexi and the boys had reportedly grown fond of each other. The relationships then spread even further.

Kevin Autran, the president of the SAE fraternity, told KCBS, “It’s absolutely a very difficult situation, and she’s a warrior."

Upon hearing about Lexi's passion for soccer, SAE brother Chase Gasper, who happened to also be on the Men's Soccer Team at UCLA, took initiative to grow her community of support.

"I texted my teammates and they all stepped up to the plate to visit her. Everyone who got to know her was really moved. It was an incredible experience and we really want her to get through this," Gasper said.

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It didn't take long for word to spread. Lexi began to have a long list of visitors from UCLA. Players from both the men's and women's rowing teams came, as well as folks from the swimming and tennis teams. Outside of the athletics department, two sororities came to visit Lexi, as well as the Christian Campus Ministry.

What began as a small gesture of love and support grew into a campus-wide effort.

NBC News reported that SAE, which is known for their elaborate Christmas lights, proceeded to write "LEXI" in yellow lights on their roof so she can see it clearly from her window. The next day, after learning of her favorite color, her personalized rooftop acknowledgement was changed to purple lights next to a beating red heart. The lights stayed there throughout the duration of the holiday period, even when the Brown family left the hospital.

“So, they had me turn around and look at the lights, and I saw my name on the roof,” Lexi said. “I thought it was really cool. I didn’t think that that would ever happen.”

Lexi fought as hard as she could against the sarcoma and cancer. Unfortunately, her battle ended in March 2016, her GoFundMe page explains, less than half a year after her time at Reagan Hospital.

UCLA's SAE Chapter wrote on their Facebook page upon hearing the news.

"It is with great sadness to hear of the passing of Lexi Brown. She was an inspiration to us all at SAE and she will always have a special place in our hearts and memories," the status reads.

"Lexi you are a blessing to us and we will definitely keep fighting like a girl!"

Sources: Independent Journal Review, KCBS, GoFundMeNBC News / Photo credit: Riana Banks via GoFundMe

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