Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Raffle for Ronan returns for year two

Giang Do
From left to right, Sophomore Lexie Seten and First-Year Renee Jednachowski talk to Sophomore Allie Lewis at the table for sorority Sigma Pi Delta’s annual fundraiser Raffle for Ronan in the Brew.

On Monday, April 29, a bright beaming smile caught the attention of everyone who passed next to the glossy orange poster announcing the Raffle for Ronan. Described as a charming, loving, smart and strong-spirited young man, Ronan Marshall, who died last spring, is now remembered by family and friends as a fierce young warrior who continues to live deep within the hearts of many people. 

With a loving girlfriend next to his side and the never ending support of his family, Ronan was able to fight off all of the cancer cells that were haunting his body with a smile on his face. However, on March 25, 2023, after having fought for seven months, Ronan died due to unexpected complications.

Sophomore Rhiannon Marshall, the sister of Ronan, said both her and her family like to support St. Jude because, throughout the duration of Ronan’s illness, the organization showed the family tremendous kindness and support. 

“St. Jude is such an amazing organization because they help out families with medical treatment costs and their facilities and staff are just amazing,” Marshall said. 

Sophomore Rachel Byrne and sophomore Ali Buchanan, two of Rhiannon’s friends from the Sigma Pi Delta sorority, were the first ones to come up with the idea of the fundraiser as a way to show Rhiannon their support. This is the second year that the Raffle for Ronan takes place, and the group is endlessly grateful for all the support that they have received. 

Buchanan said that having the picture of Ronan contributed significantly to the success of the fundraiser because it enabled people to understand that Ronan was a real person, who, like many Augustana students, had dreams and aspirations that he was not able to fulfill. 

“Last year, we were able to fundraise $2,276. However, as of Thursday, May 2, we were at $1,060 and those were just Augustana donations,” Buchanan said. “In addition, we will still be receiving donations from Rhiannon and Ronan’s family and friends.”

This year, the prices of the raffle tickets ranged from one to ten dollars with the purpose of making it possible for students of all financial backgrounds to be able to donate and participate in the raffles. Ultimately, the raffle raised $1,336 this year.

Byrne said that regardless of the money, her favorite part was seeing the eagerness that students had for wanting to donate and also for becoming involved. 

“The prizes this year are something that we’re really proud of,” Byrne said. “For example, some of the things that we are giving away are a speaker, headphones, a hammock, a cooler [and] a movie projector.” 

To show their gratitude, members of the Sigma Pi Delta sorority gave away free orange bracelets to all the contributors with the words “we stand together” and “hope.” 

“Last year, when my brother passed away, my family and I got a bunch of orange bracelets and we gave them to close family members and friends,” Marshall said. “These bracelets are leukemia awareness bracelets and are used to show support, so I came up with the idea of giving them to the people who donated.”

Whether people donated one dollar or 10, the Marshall family is very happy that Ronan is being honored and that he continues to make an impact regardless of not being able to be here with us physically. 

“The best part of this raffle was that, even if people don’t win, their money is still going to a good cause,” Byrne said.

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