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Annual sorority event raises money for polio

May 7, 2010

After seven months of strategic planning, the fourth annual Rockin’ for Robbie concert brought in an admirable ammount of money, which will be donated to hospitals in support of play therapy.

Sigma Sigma Sigma raised $1,041 at the concert, which is more than they raised last year, according to Amy Lonksy, a Sigma Sigma Sigma member. There were approximately 100-120 people at the concert, according to Mandie Lombardo, Sigma Sigma Sigma’s philanthropy chairman. The concert featured the bands The Limns and Full Tilt.

Lombardo said the event is important because the proceeds go to a good cause.

“It allows the campus community as well as the River Falls community to help support play therapy for children having a difficult time with severe illnesses while simultaneously enjoying astounding music, winning great prizes and simply taking a moment out of their busy days to relax with friends and family while remembering hospitalized children they may know or remembering the blessing of health in children,” Lombardo said.

Planning for this event started back in September 2009, according to Lombardo. Lombardo worked alongside philanthropy Co-Chairman Danielle Boyum and Public Relations Chairman Tina Worm. They worked on booking both bands free of charge, collecting donations from local businesses, working with University employees to make reservations, pamphlets, contracts, and promotional material as well as smaller components such as dinner for the band, selling tickets, decorating and setting up the silent auction, according to Lombardo.

Sigma Sigma Sigma’s national philanthropy is the Robbie Page Memorial Fund, according to Lombardo.

In an e-mail interview, Lombardo went into further explanation of the history of Sigma Sigma Sigma’s philanthropic history.

“In 1951, the National President of Sigma Sigma Sigma, Mary Hastings Holloway Page, experienced an incredible loss when she lost her son, Robbie Page, to bulbar polio. The untimely death prompted her to establish a memorial fund for polio research. Chapters across the nation rallied behind her goal and together established the Robbie Page Memorial Foundation,” Lombardo said. “Initial efforts were focused on polio research, including donations to the Sauk Vaccine Trials. With the successful overcome of polio, Sigma Sigma Sigma maintained their philosophy, ‘Sigma Serves Children.’ The Robbie Page Memorial continued to benefit ill children by supporting play therapy in hospitals.”

Play therapy rooms are offered at various hospitals. These special rooms allow children to escape their sterile hospital environments and cope with their current situations, according to the Rockin’ for Robbie Web site. Play therapy gives children the opportunity to have fun while they are getting better, according to Lonsky. Therapeutic play programs have been shown to aid in a child’s recovery both physically and emotionally, according to the Web site.

For outstanding support of Child Life and Play Therapy programs, Sigma Sigma Sigma has been recognized by the National Therapeutic Recreation Society, since contributions from the sorority have benefited many thousands of children, according to Lombardo. Currently, the Robbie Page Memorial Foundation supports the play therapy programs at North Carolina Memorial Hospital in Chapel Hill, N.C., and the Children’s Medical Center in Dallas, Texas.

The Rockin’ for Robbie concert will more than likely be around for awhile, according to Leila Hirsch, Sigma Sigma Sigma’s president, who said the event is “continuing to be a greater success year after year.”