Mr. Phi Mu crowned at cancer fundraiser

Courtesy of CIDNY JIANG Alex Hsiao from Beta Theta Pi won the annual Mr. Phi Mu competition, which supports the Katie Oppo Research Fund.

Courtesy of CIDNY JIANG
Alex Hsiao from Beta Theta Pi won the annual Mr. Phi Mu competition, which supports the Katie Oppo Research Fund.

By KELSEY KO
For The News-Letter

The Phi Mu sorority hosted its fifth annual Mr. Phi Mu event at Shriver Hall at 7 p.m. on Tuesday. Tickets were $5 at the door, with all proceeds going towards the Katie Oppo Ovarian Cancer Research Fund.

Ally Perry, a Phi Mu sister who lives close to Katie Oppo’s hometown, said a few words at the start of the event that explained its significance and the reason why it is held in honor of Katie Oppo, a Phi Mu sister and Hopkins student who passed away in her sophomore year from ovarian cancer.

“For those of you who don’t know, we’re raising money for the Katie Oppo Ovarian Cancer Research Fund in memory of the Gamma Tau sister who sadly passed away while she was at Hopkins. Katie Oppo was from a town just 10 minutes away from me in Long Island,” Perry said. “She was a beautiful, sweet and intelligent girl who adored Johns Hopkins and was on a determined path to becoming a doctor.”

Perry continued to explain how Katie fought cancer during her time at Hopkins.

COURTESY OF CINDY JIANG Contestants danced in the first stage of the Mr. Phi Mu competition, which benefits cancer research.

COURTESY OF CINDY JIANG
Contestants danced in the first stage of the Mr. Phi Mu competition, which benefits cancer research.

“As a freshman, Katie joined Phi Mu in the spring of 2010. In the fall of 2010 as she getting ready to head back to Hopkins along with her five new friends, just weeks before her sophomore year, she was diagnosed with Stage 4 small cell carcinoma of the ovary, which is a very aggressive type of cancer,” she said. “That fall, Katie eagerly participated in Halloween activities back at home with her friends who came back to visit her. She was a determined individual who ended up being privately tutored to study for her sophomore classes since she was unable to return to campus during her treatment. Katie fought and fought until she finally succumbed to cancer in April of 2011.”

The competition started with an introduction of the three judges who included Phi Mu President Sarah Manzone as well as two Phi Mu alums, Lucy Woodrow and Allie Baker. The eligible bachelors included men from numerous Hopkins fraternities and varsity sports who were nominated by their brothers and team members. The contestants went through three rounds — the introduction, the talent and the question and answer portions.

The talent portion showcased acts ranging from AEPi’s Maxwell Pinz chugging an entire gallon of milk, Fiji’s Sam Kerans performing a dramatic reading of the R. Kelly song Ignition Remix, to a duet of the High School Musical song “Breaking Free” performed by Brett Caggiano and Anthony Campanile in Wawa.

Audience members voted after each round to determine who they wanted to crown as the next Mr. Phi Mu. In the final round, the top five contestants were Alex Hsiao from Beta, TJ Reeves and Eric Alimena from Track and Field, Claudio Malicdem III from Sig Chi, Sam Kerans from Fiji and Bryan Gustafson from Phi Psi.

In the final round each individual answered questions such as “Boxers or briefs?” and “What’s your favorite thing about yourself and why?”

“We’re just out here for the memories,” TJ Reeves and Eric Alimena from Track and Field, said in response to why they were here. “We came out here to strengthen our bond, have some fun and raise money for the Katie Oppo Cancer Research Foundation.”

In the end, Alex Hsiao from Beta was crowned 2015 Mr. Phi Mu. Hsiao received a Phi Mu shirt, flowers and a Chipotle gift card. In an email to The News-Letter, Hsiao wrote about his experience preparing for and participating in the event.

Courtesy of CIDNY JIANG  Contestants performed talents, including AEPi’s Maxwell Pinz, who chugged an entire gallon of milk.

Courtesy of CIDNY JIANG
Contestants performed talents, including AEPi’s Maxwell Pinz, who chugged an entire gallon of milk.

“My experience throughout the night was pretty amazing. It was great to be in front of so many people, but so nerve-wracking because you have no idea how they’ll react to anything that you do,” Hsiao wrote. “As for my preparation, I sat down with a bunch of my brothers to work on what I should do. Andrew Colombo cut the music and from there everything just came from my own thoughts or brothers’ advice. My whole outfit was done by my girlfriend so that really helped!”

The event was hosted as an entertaining way to raise money for a cause close to the hearts of Phi Mu. Money raised at the event will only continue to support and fund research that will benefit for ovarian cancer, especially at Hopkins’ very own School of Medicine.

“Katie’s mother Lynn created the Katie Oppo Ovarian Cancer Research Fund to raise money for ovarian cancer awareness and research. Two years ago, they funded a research project for ovarian cancer with Dr. Le-Ming Shih, who’s a professor of biology and oncology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine,” judge Ally Perry said. “They look forward to working with him again in the near future, as Dr. Shih’s research involves treating and preventing cancer, especially ovarian cancer. I’m very proud to say that in the past five years we have raised over $20,000 for the Katie Oppo Research Fund.”

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