Friday feel good: Pediatric cancer patient finds unlikely friends in UCLA fraternity

A dose of feel good to kick of the weekend.

People say kindness is contagious. It may be one of the most restorative, healing contagions of all.

After learning her heart was functioning at only 15 percent, 12-year-old Lexi Brown, a lung cancer patient, was airlifted to Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA on Oct. 30.

Lexi's hospital room overlooked the university's fraternity row. To distract themselves, Lexi and her mom drew a sign asking for pizza and taped it to the window. Soon after, a group of young men arrived with pizza, ready to pay Lexi a particularly memorable visit.

"Five guys come in, and they had a guitar and dozen roses and a box of pizza," Ms. Brown said, according to the report. "They introduced themselves and said, 'We saw your sign; we're here.' They stayed for a half an hour, they sang this song and I started bawling my head off. I'm like, 'I can't believe these people are here for my child.'"

The men were members of UCLA's Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, whose house neighbored the hospital. After seeing Lexi's sign, they wanted to visit. And the pizza drop-off wouldn't be the last time. After Lexi mentioned she loves soccer, one of the SAE members on the UCLA squad brought in his whole team to meet her. Josh Rosen, the quarterback of UCLA's football team, also came to see her, and the football team provided Lexi and her parents with tickets to the game on the day of her release.

Next, players from the men and women's rowing, swimming and tennis teams came to visit, along with the Christian Campus Ministry and members from two sororities. Of all of these supportive faces, the SAE fraternity brothers were the most consistent visitors. And the positive effects of the brothers' kindness and compassion worked both ways.

"When the brothers got back from visiting Lexi, you could see that they were all glowing, knowing that they had done something good for the community," SAE chapter president Kevin Autran said, according to NBC. "It was contagious. And brothers stepped up to go visit her essentially every day. Some just stopped by to give her a little gift like a shirt or a teddy bear, and some stayed for hours to hang out with her."

As part of their annual tradition, the SAE brothers decorated their house with lights, but this time, the lights spelled a special message in yellow: "Lexi." After learning her favorite color is purple, the fraternity brothers changed the color of the lights and added a beating heart. They will stay lit through the holidays.

Now, Lexi is home in Santa Maria, Calif., where she continues fighting her cancer. Although she can no longer call the SAE brothers her neighbors, she won't forget them and they won't forget her.

"We truly feel like Lexi and her parents are part of our family, and we just want them to know that we will always be there for them," Mr. Autran told NBC. The brothers said they plan on staying in touch with the Browns.

SAE members from around the country have donated to a fund set up to help Lexi's family pay her hospital bills.

"I never knew that so many young adults had it in them," said Ms. Brown.

More from the daily beat blog:
Friday feel good: Lightsabers, stormtroopers and a hospital room
Friday feel good: A real 'Fight Song' from Dana-Farber
Friday feel good: 3 things to know about the LA physician who delivered a baby on a plane


Copyright © 2023 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Subscribe to Our RSS Newsletter

Your Email:  

Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars