Published Dec 11, 2015 8:00 AM
When a young patient at Mattel Children’s Hospital posted a sign in her window, the fraternity across the street took note.
While 12-year-old Lexi Brown was recently a patient at Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA, she acquired dozens of new brothers — the men of Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) fraternity.
Brown is battling sarcoma, a form of cancer that has spread to her lungs. When chemotherapy left her heart functioning at 15 percent, she was airlifted to Westwood from her home in Santa Maria.
As hospital life droned on, she and her mom put a poster in the window of her room requesting a pizza delivery. The SAE brothers, whose fraternity house is across the street from Brown’s hospital room, saw the sign and delivered the requested goods — plus much more. The brothers came in full force with not only a pizza, but also a bouquet of red roses and a guitar to serenade the pre-teen.
And the brothers’ actions didn’t end there. Trips to visit Brown in the hospital became a frequent item on their agenda, as different members of the fraternity came and went. The visitors sometimes came bearing small gifts, and sometimes visited simply to keep her company — playing cards and chatting. In response to the guests, the hospital relaxed its policy, allowing them to stay in Brown’s room past midnight.
The fraternity reached out to other groups within the UCLA student body, too, and Bruins from varying organizations came out to visit Brown. Men’s soccer, women’s tennis, two sororities, the Christian Campus Ministry and a gamut of other teams and clubs stopped by to pay a visit. Even Josh Rosen, quarterback of the Bruin football team, visited and gave Brown passes to a game.
Each holiday season, fraternities deck their houses out in Christmas lights. This year SAE decided to honor Brown in their display, putting her name in lights on their roof so that whenever she looked out her hospital window she could see evidence of their support. Above her name, which appears in her favorite color, purple, is a flashing red heart.
Though Brown is now back home in Santa Maria, the fraternity has decided to keep her name on the roof through the holidays in a show of continued solidarity.
Not only have the students raised this young girl’s spirits, the media attention they attracted by their thoughtfulness has resulted in financial donations flooding in from all across the country. In the past month, more than 300 people have donated upwards of $25,000 to aid the Brown family in paying for their daughter’s medical expenses.