This is a guest post by Ohio Eta Vice President of Communications, Nina Kreuter.
In Pi Phi, we often hear the term “sincere friendship.” We are encouraged to consider ways in which we can be better friends to our sisters. In the best of circumstances our chapter, Ohio Eta, prides itself in our close-knit relationships and an undeniable feeling of family. However, we recently discovered it is in the worst of times that sincere friendships are truly found and cherished. After losing one of our sisters this past summer, the women of our chapter will be forever grateful for the friendships we have cultivated through Pi Beta Phi.
In the winter of 2010 our dear friend, Elizabeth Minter, was diagnosed with gliomatosis ceribri, a rare and inoperable brain tumor. Liz grew up in Bronxville, New York, and came to Denison University in 2009 where she joined Pi Beta Phi her freshmen year. Meeting Liz was like meeting someone you had known all your life. Liz was an instant friend and natural leader within her pledge class. Many describe her as charismatic, loyal and very true to herself. She brought light and laughs to all our activities, including our involvement in campus-wide events and Greek philanthropies.
She was diagnosed while home over winter break her sophomore year. Liz did not return that January and her absence was heartbreaking. Our chapter dove right into the business of formal recruitment and Liz’s upbeat spirit, kind heart and famous humor was notably missing.
Even though Liz faced a difficult journey ahead of her, she still proved to be the bubbly, hilarious and philanthropic friend we all loved. In November 2011, she launched the Elizabeth’s Hope Foundation at Weill-Cornell Brain and Spinal Center to advocate and raise funds for adolescent cancer research.
After her diagnosis, our chapter made it a priority to rally behind Liz and her cause. We knew she had her family at home to support her and we wanted to assure them that her Pi Phi family in Ohio was doing the same.
Our chapter began “Love for Liz” and organized events and fundraisers to benefit Elizabeth’s Hope. We began by selling pink “Love for Liz” bracelets, and then we founded our annual “Lattes for Liz.” Liz was a loyal and devoted customer of a local coffee shop and when it heard about her diagnosis, the shop agreed without hesitation to host the event and donate an entire day’s proceeds to Liz’s cause.
This year we also had huge success in hosting our first Valentine’s Day candy delivery. The women of our chapter set up tables in the student center to take orders for goodie bags to be delivered to their valentines to dorm rooms around campus.
Liz also had a great support team in her family and friends at home in Scarsdale, New York. Brands such as Panda Sunglasses have signed up in support of Elizabeth’s Hope and clothing designer Gretchen Scott designed a special “Elizabeth’s Hope” tunic to which 100 percent of her proceeds are donated. In December, there was a successful event at the Soul Cycle studio where Liz’s friends from all over attended.
On May 30, 2012, we lost our beloved sister. Our challenge became balancing our grief along with our desire to celebrate her life and her spirit. Before her passing we thought our chapter felt like a family, and now those feelings have only deepened. Ohio Eta’s definition of sincere friendship was put to the test this summer. Now, if you ask our chapter what the key ingredient to sincere friendship is, we would say selflessness. Besides witnessing Liz’s selflessness and strength, each of us had to sacrifice our personal grief to celebrate the bright, beautiful life she lived. We recognize our Pi Phi sisters as our family, and we would do anything for our family.
To read more about Liz’s story and legacy visit www.elizabethshope.com.