Sorority and Fraternity Life often prides itself on being a support system for its members. For one member of Loyola’s Kappa Kappa Gamma (KKG) sorority chapter, that support has been needed now more than ever.
Junior Jordan Phillips has been in the Intensive Care Unit at Rush Hospital since Jan. 6. The early education major was hospitalized for “a relatively unknown illness” that was causing frequent seizures, according to a GoFundMe page set up on her behalf.
When news of Phillips’ condition first reached KKG, for which Phillips is an executive board member, her sorority sisters quickly stepped in to help.
“Almost as soon as she got sick, our entire sorority was immediately like, ‘OK, we need to start thinking about what we’re going to do,’” said Phillips’ roommate and KKG sister Caroline Smith.
KKG members helped Phillips’ family start a page on GoFundMe, an online site for donations, to help pay for medical expenses and Phillips’ rent, which is about $700 per month, according to Mary Ennis, a member of KKG. The page has raised more than $3,400 of its $5,000 goal as of Feb. 22.
Phillips, 20, recently began opening her eyes and breathing on her own for hours at a time after starting a new medication as part of a drug trial on Feb. 8, according to an update on the page from Phillips’ mother, Laura. Phillips has been seizure-free for nearly two weeks, according to the page.
Phillips’ family thanked The Phoenix for raising awareness of fundraisers but did not comment further.
Phillips’ KKG sisters are working to get the greater Loyola community involved. Ennis, a junior history and political science double major, said she started organizing fundraisers at local restaurants when she realized the gravity of the situation.
“We, Kappa, felt like we owed it to Jordan to do something because … she’s so enthusiastic and she’s genuinely the sweetest person I’ve ever met in my life,” Ennis said. “You can only send someone’s parents so many bouquets of flowers before you feel like you need to [do something] else.”
Loyola’s student-run Felice’s Kitchen, where Ennis used to work, agreed to host a fundraiser on Phillips’ behalf on Feb. 24. Half of the proceeds made from 4-9 p.m. on that day will go to the Phillips family. This is twice as much as the restaurant usually donates for fundraisers, according to Ennis.
Sam Schultz, vice president of finance at Felice’s Kitchen, said Felice’s wanted to do everything they could to help even if it causes financial loss, especially because many staff members know Phillips personally.
“We’re totally going to lose money on the fundraiser,” the junior information systems major said. “But please make us lose money on this fundraiser, it’s not about making a profit on anything.”
Ennis, 20, also reached out to Bulldog Ale House, located near Sheridan Road and Albion Avenue. General manager Michael Blaha agreed to host a fundraiser on Feb. 25 to show solidarity with Loyola.
“We’re not just here to make money and be a business. We want to be that part of the community that everybody knows about,” Blaha said. “[Loyola] has been so very welcoming and so many students come here; it wasn’t even a decision to be made. It was more like an opportunity to finally give back.”
At least 10 percent of proceeds from full-priced menu items (not the daily deals) ordered on Feb. 25 will go to Phillips’ family. Bulldog will also provide a donation jar.
Phillips is an active member of KKG and serves as the registrar, making her responsible for educating the sorority on its history. She often shares fun facts at chapter, according to Smith, a political science and international studies double major and Phillips’s roommate.
Both Smith and Ennis said Phillips loves kids and hopes to become a teacher. Ennis described Phillips as a soft-spoken, happy person and one of the most supportive people she knows. She is someone who inspires others through her passions such as teaching, Ennis said.
“Hearing Jordan talk about things she is so passionate and bubbly about makes … everyone in the chapter feel comfortable talking about their unique interests,” Ennis said. “Jordan just loves to show that she cares about everything, and so it just spreads a general positive vibe through the chapter where everyone wants to talk about what they care about and get involved.”
Smith said one of Phillips’ unique interests is tigers. Smith said she brought a tiger-stuffed animal to the hospital for Phillips to add some comfort and saw several tigers already there — a sign of the widespread love for Phillips at Loyola.
“I know people don’t often give to charity when they’re in college [because] it’s just really expensive, but this is someone from Loyola,” Smith said. “I mean, we’re here fighting for her, and she’s fighting, and it’s just really a personal cause. She lives in the room next door to me, we’re friends, we’re roommates, we’re sisters — we just [have to] help her.”