My dad, John Cornick, was a very proud Phi Delta Theta at UNC- Chapel Hill. He deeply valued the friendships he made within the Fraternity and years after he graduated from UNC, especially in the past few years when he was battling ALS. He was diagnosed with ALS in June of 2009 and fought an extremely courageous battle until May of 2011. As the disease took its toll, I was blown away by the way his fraternity brothers constantly surrounded him and encouraged him through visits, emails and phone calls.
When I arrived at UNC Chapel Hill as a freshman, I learned that Phi Delta Theta’s national philanthropy is the ALS Association and the Phi Delts were planning on having a philanthropic event to support it. Around the same time, I had joined Kappa Delta Sorority and met my now, very dear friend, Ally, whose dad also battled the disease. I also learned about a former Kappa Delta at UNC whose mother had the disease as well. After getting to know Ally, and learning about the very close and personal connection that Kappa Delta has to ALS, it was obvious that KD should join forces with Phi Delt to make this event happen.
We saw this as an incredible opportunity to raise awareness for this disease, as well as funds for research and care for ALS patients. It was amazing to see how the members of Phi Delt and Kappa Delta instantly stepped up and volunteered their time and talents to making this event a huge success. On April 8, 2011, KD and Phi Delt hosted their inaugural Cookout to Knockout ALS on the lawn of the Phi Delt house. Over 600 people, including the UNC Chapel Hill community, family and friends, enjoyed the delicious barbeque, burgers and hotdogs prepared by John Jenkins, Phi Delt’s very own chef. Attendees also enjoyed socializing and listening to the Fabulous Kays play many beach music hits. With many generous donations, we raised over $25,000 that went to the North Carolina Catfish Hunter chapter of The ALS Association. The greatest and most priceless part of it all was my dad’s ability to gain enough strength to come to the cookout. My dad was able to physically be on the lawn of the house where he created his greatest college memories. His favorite “Famous Phi” brothers swarmed him with love and support at one time and showed him that they and the rest of the Chapel Hill community would continue to fight the disease on this earth after he is no longer with us.
Even though my dad will not be at the 2nd annual Cookout to Knockout ALS in April of 2012, he will be able to look down from heaven and see the Chapel Hill community honoring his legacy and rallying around the cause for a world without ALS.
Macon Cornick grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina and attended Saint Mary’s School. She is now a sophomore at UNC Chapel Hill, studying exercise and sports science and is a member of Kappa Delta Sorority. She is very thankful for the UNC Phi Delta Theta community and the enthusiasm shown by the alumni and current brothers to help fight ALS, a cause that is very close to her heart.