Honor society for aspiring health professionals wins grant for Drew Bennett cause

Members of Roanoke College's Alpha Epsilon Delta, Theta Chapter, pose with Drew Bennett during a February fundraiser at Salem Pizza & Subs.

Members of Roanoke College's Alpha Epsilon Delta, Theta Chapter, pose with Drew Bennett during a February fundraiser at Salem Pizza & Subs.


SALEM, Va.- Passion for health in the community helped a project by Roanoke College students and aspiring doctors earn a national honor.

The Association of College Honor Societies awarded a $500 grant to Dr. DorothyBelle Poli, the adviser of the college's Alpha Epsilon Delta, Theta Chapter, for a fundraising project that the honor society for pre-medical students started last year. Poli, an assistant biology professor at Roanoke College, plans to donate the grant money to the project.

AED, along with several other honor societies and student groups, has raised $1,578 so far to help fund medical expenses for a Roanoke County 8-year-old, Drew Bennett. Drew has a malfunctioning stomach and bowels, a result of a condition called colonic pseudo-obstruction that he developed as a 2 year old. He cannot eat food or swallow, and he carries a suitcase and backpack with tubes that pump liquid nutrients into his body. Drew is in need of a transplant for a stomach, small and large bowel and a liver.

An AED student suggested Drew's cause as a fundraising project last year after a television news show featured his story. His situation was particularly important to the AED chapter, because "he's close to home," Poli said. "He's our neighbor."

AED, other Roanoke College honor societies, including Phi Beta Kappa, and Alpha Lambda Delta, and some student groups have hosted a variety of fundraisers, from a bake sale to a silent auction, in the past year.

They plan to keep up the money-raising efforts with a 5K Walk for Drew on Sept. 24 at Roanoke College's track. Ultimately, they'd like to raise $10,000, Poli said. The students may continue other fundraising activities through the year. The community can donate to Drew's cause by contacting Poli at poli@roanoke.edu.

Roanoke College's project was one of four that the ACHS chose for an Adviser Grant award, out of 12 applicants for the 2010-11 school year, said Dr. Dorothy Mitstifer, executive director of the association. The award honors advisers of the ACHS' 68 member societies who help chapters organize socially responsible projects.

Roanoke College's AED chapter was chartered last spring. The society, with about 55 members, began in 2009 as a branch of a campus club, Students Interested in Health Careers.  The students have hosted other campus health events, including flu clinics, blood drives and free CPR training.

Roanoke College, a classic liberal arts college in Salem, Virginia, combines firsthand learning with valuable personal connections in a beautiful, undergraduate setting. Roanoke is one of just seven percent of colleges nationwide with a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, the nation's oldest and most prestigious honor society. The Princeton Review lists Roanoke as one of the "Best 376 Colleges" in its 2012 guidebook, which includes the top nine percent of colleges, and U.S. News & World Report ranks Roanoke the number seven "Up-and-coming National Liberal Arts College."


Released: June 28, 2011
Contact Name: Public Relations
Contact Phone: 540-375-2282
Contact Email: gereaux@roanoke.edu


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