Jeff Angileri
Nov 5, 2008, 10:02 PM

Some UW students are helping some young UW patients -- they are raising money by heading to the Badger game in Indiana -- by bike.

It's the largest fund-raising event by any fraternity at the UW.

Members of Sigma Phi Epsilon joined the gridiron with some kids from American Family Children's Hospital. It's the farewell party for Tour De Touchdown.

It's a lot of fun, and really rewarding at the end when you get to see the kids here for our kickoff, and when you get to actually bike, said Corbin Blankenstein of Sig Ep.

Nine fraternity brothers will take turns pedaling 412 miles by bike from the UW all the way to Indiana University in Bloomington. They'll carry with them a football autographed by head coach Bret Bielema.

We raised $30,000 the last three years, said Sig Ep Mike MacKay. Right now we're up to $5,000, we're hoping to get to $10,000.

Everything that we raise goes into a separate fund for the children's hospital, to help make the lives of a long-term patient more accommodating, said Nate Anderson of Sig Ep.

Specifically, the money will go toward Child Life programs, which help children and their families cope with long-term hospitalization. These include playtime activities, games, and technology upgrades. Doctors say it makes a big difference for young patients.

They underwent what would otherwise have been a really disturbing event, and they almost didn't notice that it was happening, said Ellen Wald, a physician of pediatrics at American Family Children's Hospital.

Members of Sig Ep say memories of the kids will keep them going on their long philanthropic journey.

You really don't think you can get that much out of yourself, but you just kind of push each other on, you have people cheering you on as you go, Blankenstein said.

According to Wald, For them to feel connected to our hospital is really a wonderful thing. It's just inspiring to us, and I'm sure it's also inspiring to them.

Sigma Phi Epsilon is still accepting donations. You can contribute online at www.firstgiving.com/tourdetouchdown08