Frank the Fighter Foundation Gets Assistance from SEMO Pikes
Posted on May 24, 2018
Over the past three years, members of Epsilon Iota Chapter at Southeast Missouri State University have donated over $4,000 and completed more than 1,000 community service hours to benefit a local charity.
The Frank the Fighter Foundation was founded in memory of the son of Frank “Trae” Bertrand (Southeast Missouri, Epsilon Iota ’98). On October 13, 2014, Frank Charles Bertrand, V entered the world. Born with a known heart defect and several other surprise health issues, he immediately went to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, where he spent the next 15 days fighting hard to live. He started improving and doing better each day until October 29, 2014, when he unexpectedly passed away. The Bertrand family was blessed to have him in their life for those 15 days, but they were also the most difficult days of their lives.
“When we were in the NICU with Frank, we were very well taken care of by family, friends, and people we didn’t even know,” said Frank’s mother, Rachel. “Gift cards, gift baskets, and cash were regularly being gifted to us. A fund was created to pay for our stay at the hotel connected to the hospital. Many people contributed to the fund, and I still do not know who all was in it because they wanted to remain anonymous. It was important to them that I got to be near our baby. Had I not been at that hotel, I don’t believe I would have been able to be by Frank’s side the night he took his last few breaths.”
The Frank the Fighter Foundation fundraises throughout the year to help shine a light on other families in similar situations. All proceeds are used for gifts that are given directly to babies and families in NICUs in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, where the Bertrands live, as well as St. Louis, Missouri. Gifts to the families consist of gift cards, checks/cash, gift baskets, and baby items. In addition, gift bags are taken to all families with babies in the NICU at both hospitals in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, on Christmas and Mother’s Day. These items and monetary gifts never fail to bring a smile to the faces of mothers and fathers during what may be the darkest hours they’ve had to face.
Each October, Epsilon Iota Chapter provides 30-40 members to assist with Frank’s Birthday Bash Carnival where the men each spend approximately eight hours working carnival games, cooking and serving food, and assisting with set up and clean up. The chapter hosts its own benefit for the Frank the Fighter Foundation, Franks for Frank, and also donates the proceeds from its annual Pike Spike philanthropy event to the foundation.