A frat’s 45-year Feat of Feet

Be on the lookout for fraternity brothers from Thiel College on street corners in Mercer County this week seeking donations before they start out this weekend on their annual Walk-a-Thon for the Free Care Fund of UPMC Children’s Hospital.

The 45th annual Phi Theta Phi Walk-a-Thon fundraising started Monday in Conneaut Lake.

On Tuesday, Robert Leitsch, a 22-year-old Thiel senior from Washington, Pa., was happily collecting donations at Water and West State streets in downtown Sharon.

“It’s not as bad out as it was yesterday,” Leitsch said of the overcast skies and winds buffeting the brothers.

He and his group will be on Mercer’s street corners today and on Main Street in Greenville on Thursday.

On Friday the group – which historically has also included alumni – will begin the 100-mile trek from Greenville to Pittsburgh. They will stop for the night and resume in the morning, ending up at the hospital on Saturday night.

“My freshman year we collected over $40,000,” Leitsch said.

The fraternity has raised more than $1.25 million for the fund over the last 44 years. This year’s goal is $35,000.

The Free Care Fund at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation helps ensure that all children receive the medical care they need, and that no child from the tri-state area is denied care because of an inability to pay.

In 2011, the foundation contributed more than $18 million to the hospital in support of new construction, research, clinical programs, medical education, and funds for free care.

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