Sigma Kappa Triangle Winter 2017 : Page 8


Beating Limitations

Susan Etheridge Hadden, Epsilon Epsilon

Features Editor

When she walked her first half marathon in London in 2003, Donna DeWick, Beta Zeta, University of Maryland, complained of a sore foot after crossing the finish line. Thinking the problem was her shoes, she visited a highly recommended running shoe store, but they refused to sell her new shoes, suggesting instead that she follow up with her doctor to see if something else might be going on with her foot. Her general practitioner referred her to an orthopedist, who then referred her to a neurologist. After a basic test that involved tapping a pin on her foot, Donna realized, to her surprise, that she had no sensation in her feet. In fact, it was not until the pin reached the level of her ankle that she could feel the pin.

After a year of visiting doctors, she had a diagnosis: Charcot Marie Tooth (CMT) – a progressive degenerative disease of the nerves that impacts 1 in 2,500 people. Caused by genetic anomalies, CMT leads to muscle atrophy, reduced sensation and muscular imbalance. Although some show signs of the disease at birth, for others the diagnosis may occur later in life, sometimes unlocking the puzzle of prior difficulties that did not make sense. A later diagnosis of Ehler's Danlos Syndrome (EDS), a connective tissue disorder of the collagen, further explained some physical difficulties Donna had experienced.

Donna confesses, "It's scary to be told that you have an incurable condition, especially one whose path and manner of development is unknown."

She admits that her first response was to just ignore the CMT. After all, she was active and felt healthy. Aside from a few new goals, include walking a marathon in 2004, taking up yoga, and visiting a nutritionist, she went on with her normal routine. But as life got busy and she found less time to exercise, she could feel her health start to decline. She couldn't ignore how she was beginning to feel – especially when it got tough to even walk up the stairs. She decided to increase her activity levels, hoping it would help her feel better. In 2007 she set a goal of doing a triathlon. By 2009 she accepted that living life fully would mean, for her, committing to an active, healthy lifestyle.

While many people given a life-limiting diagnosis would withdraw from activity, Donna took the opposite path. "I've changed my perspective on limitations. I believe in pushing myself to find my limits, and then pushing those limits to redefine them – and in doing so, to beat my limitations. I've learned a lot since 2009. One of my biggest lessons is that with the right attitude, nutrition and activity levels, I can manage the impact of CMT on my life. Another? To take joy from movement – no matter what speed I move at!"

Redefining her limits applies in all areas of her very busy life. Born in Washington, D.C., and raised in Hawaii, she attended the University of Maryland for her undergraduate degree, followed by Georgetown for a graduate degree in International Relations. She moved to London when she took a job with Shell, expecting to remain there only a few years. In 2000 Donna married David Hayward, a Londoner she met while in grad school, and London became her permanent home.

Since 2007, she has completed dozens of triathlons, and a few single-sport endurance events including cycling century rides and the Great Chesapeake Bay 4.4-mile swim. In 2013, when she was advised that her hypermobility from EDS and an unusually shaped knee would limit her time in triathlon, she concentrated on achieving new personal bests, including podium finishes in both swims and triathlon. In 2015 and 2016 she was named London Female Paratriathlete of the Year.

Some of her favorite memories include the first time she raced for Team USA in Chicago at the World Paratriathlon Event in 2014, where in addition to the honor of representing her country, she was thrilled to have her Sigma Kappa sisters in her very own lavender and maroon cheering zone on the bike course to greet her on every lap. She also cherished her first experience with the Egmond quarter marathon where she was the last person to cross the line and received a huge bouquet of flowers. "I think all races should do that – first or last or in between, what matters is that the person got out and did it."

Although traveling for sports and work consumes much of her time, a desire to educate and inspire others led her to create her blog, "Beating Limitations," in 2009, and to embark on health coach certification in 2016. On her blog, she shares her struggles and successes, and supports and fundraises for the CMTA, the single-focus organization that supports world-class research programs for those with CMT. She also benefits from the support of the global community of CMT and EDS athletes.

As she explains on her blog, "The biggest thing I try to impart to people is that if you have a body you are an athlete – being an athlete is a matter of shifting perspective and celebrating what you can do. I never grew up an athlete, but I decided to see what I could do. And in the process, by learning about my body and celebrating what I can do instead of focusing on what I can't, I have discovered my inner athlete."


Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease, or CMT, is a group of inherited disorders that affect the peripheral nerves, which are the nerves outside the brain and spinal cord. There are 90 kinds of CMT. Each kind is caused by a different kind of mutation, and more causes are being discovered every year.


CMT affects about 2.8 million people worldwide, of all races and ethnic groups.


In the most common kinds of CMT, symptoms may include foot deformity (very high arched feet); foot drop (inability to hold foot horizontal); "slapping" gait (feet slap on the floor when walking because of foot drop); loss of muscle in the lower legs, leading to skinny calves; numbness in the feet; difficulty with balance; later, similar symptoms also may appear in the arms and hands.


There are no known treatments that will stop or slow down the progression of CMT. Physical therapy, occupational therapy, and physical activity may help maintain muscle strength and improve independent functioning.


By Ashley Lowe Nance, Theta Xi

Features Editor

Each year, thousands of collegians join our Sigma Kappa sisterhood. These young women have what some may think of as the "classic" sorority experience. They experience formal recruitment, the new member program, Initiation, and Order of the Triangle in their journey from new members to alumnae. Throughout their experience, this new group of sisters finds a circle that appreciates them for who they are; helps make the adjustment into college life a smoother experience; and produces life-long friends.

Since its inception, Sigma Kappa has been home for hundreds of thousands of collegiate women. But some women have a different path to sisterhood. These ladies either did not have the opportunity, or for various reasons, could not join a sorority when they went to college. What about women who chose to enter the work force or delayed going to college? Sigma Kappa's love is too big to only be bestowed upon young collegiate women.

One of the first examples of Sigma Kappa initiating alumnae members is found in a 1958 issue of the Sigma Kappa Triangle. It was understood that there were adult women who had much to offer our sisterhood, so our alumnae initiate program was created. Alumnae initiates offer a unique perspective on sisterhood. They will never experience recruitment and membership like collegians do, but these women want to join Sigma Kappa because they found something in Sigma Kappa that spoke to them. Some of these women are family members of collegians who are devoted to helping Sigma Kappa and willing to give their time, talents, gifts and treasure to advance our Sorority on a college campus. Other women research Sigma Kappa and find our ideals are in line with their own, while others will choose to join Sigma Kappa with a new chapter class. These alumnae initiates have much in common with what we believe, and would love nothing more than to form new friendships, work toward the advancement of finding a cure for Alzheimer's disease, help advise a collegiate chapter, and like all Sigma Kappa sisters, they lend their talents to something bigger than themselves. For these women, sisterhood in Sigma Kappa is our most cherished gift to give, and it is easier to make a difference when we are all working toward the same goal.

Michelle Bombaugh, Lambda Zeta, University of South Florida, is the perfect picture of such a sister. Michelle is the Assistant Director for First Year Academic Advocacy and Transitional Advising at the University of South Florida in Tampa. When asked why she wanted to join a sorority, she said, "When I was a first year student at Florida Southern College, I had a preconceived notion about Fraternity and Sorority life that was based on the portrayals of the Greek system in the media. It was not until my sophomore year that, through my friendships with Greek-affiliated students, I began to see the true picture of social

Greek-lettered organizations. I could tell that they were a part of something special that emphasized sisterhood, philanthropy and involvement. It took me until my third year of college to decide to go through recruitment. However, I was unsuccessful at finding a good fit. It was then that I decided that I would not discount any opportunity that was presented to me. Moreover, I would never let preconceived notions determine my actions."

Michelle's perception of Greek-letter organizations is not unusual. In many cases, the media chooses to promote stories that are the exception rather than the norm. For example, fraternities and sororities donate over $7 million yearly to different charities, while also providing the largest network of volunteers in the U.S. by donating over 10 million hours of volunteer service.

Michelle, like many sisters, was attracted to Sigma Kappa because of our involvement in trying to find a cure to end Alzheimer's disease. "Upon researching Sigma Kappa, I was drawn to the philanthropic endeavors that Sigma Kappa pursues, particularly the work with Alzheimer 's disease research and programs. Like many, I have seen the impact that this disease can have on an individual, as well as the individual's family. My grandmother lived with this disease for over five years." Michelle watched her grandfather care for her beloved grandmother while she slowly failed to recall her family and who she was. Michelle said through this experience with her family, she understands the effects of Alzheimer's on the family, and desires to help bring awareness to the disease and provide research support.

Alumnae make a difference in the lives of new members, whether newly initiated collegiate or alumnae members. Michelle said the Tampa Bay Alumnae Chapter impressed her because of the number of members who attended the USF Bid Day to "welcome the new members and help to make the day such a special event. This willingness to help, camaraderie, and support are attributes that made Sigma Kappa an organization with which I desire to be associated."

Our role as alumnae is to connect with each other, but we are also capable of helping others transition from collegians to alumnae. Collegiate chapters need only to reach out and ask different alumnae chapters to help. All alumnae have something to offer to collegians and alumnae initiates.

Michelle's involvement in Sigma Kappa has only just begun, but she is not resting on her alumna status. She has chosen to jump in with both feet and get involved. She mentioned how fortunate she felt to be initiated into a new chapter. Do we all feel this way when the Mystic Bond of Sigma Kappa is revealed to us? Do we realize that we have joined something bigger than ourselves, and we have the opportunity to join with others to make a difference in our local communities, states, country and the world?

Michelle immediately joined the Tampa Bay Alumnae Chapter and took on a leadership role. Not only is she an alumnae chapter officer, but she is also the advisor to the vice president of scholarship for the Lambda Zeta Chapter, and she is actively searching for other women to become alumnae initiates of Sigma Kappa. Michelle has the attitude we should all have about Sigma Kappa: "I am dedicated to Sigma Kappa and excited about all of the past, present and future opportunities to be involved."

Any initiated member of Sigma Kappa is welcome to recommend women for alumnae initiation. If you know a woman who would make a good addition to Sigma Kappa, regardless of her age or stage in life, check out the alumnae initiate procedure to the right and introduce a deserving woman to the beauty of Sigma Kappa!

Contrary to popular belief, one does not need to be a college-age woman to become a member of Sigma Kappa. The alumnae initiate program is a way for deserving women of all ages to be welcomed into the Mystic Bond.

From the Sigma Kappa National Policy Handbook

C. Alumnae Initiate Policy

Prospective alumnae initiates are those women chosen by alumnae and collegiate chapters to become members of Sigma Kappa Sorority. Membership is an honor to be conferred with careful consideration of its requirements and responsibilities as well as its privileges. The qualifications of an alumna initiate are:

To have a college degree. This should not be considered an absolute requirement.

To have demonstrated her interest in assisting college women.

To have given service in community affairs.

To be sponsored by two initiated members in good standing.

To be willing to acquire knowledge of Sigma Kappa.

To be willing to give service to Sigma Kappa.


An affirmative vote shall be secured from the Membership Selection Committee of the collegiate chapter of initiation for each alumna initiate.

Alumnae chapters wishing to present an alumna initiate candidate for Initiation should contact national headquarters.

A petition for alumna initiation and alumna initiation application should be submitted to the collegiate alumnae relations coordinator supervising the chapter of initiation.

National alumnae dues, alumnae initiation fee and badge fee must be paid.

Alumnae initiates are members of Sigma Kappa with all the rights, responsibilities and privileges.

In order to avoid conflicts, collegiate chapters are asked to refrain from inviting to membership their house director until such time as the house director is no longer employed by the corporation.

In some cases, selected women from the community in which there is a new colony, or a collegiate chapter being recolonized, may be asked to become alumnae initiates. In these cases, national council gives approval for Initiation. At the discretion of national council, these initiates may or may not be asked to pay the national alumnae dues, alumnae initiation fee or the badge fee.


Alpha, Colby College

Joy Paddison Cook
Charlotte Arey Hoppe
Christine Bruce Lyon
Elizabeth Mathes Stange

Delta, Boston University

Mary Tudbury
Eleanor Killpartrick Estey
Priscilla Perkins Barnard
Barbara Baker Wood
Mary Siteman Fullerton

Epsilon, Syracuse University
Helena Bain Howe
Mary Forbes Welch
Gloria Hilderbrand
Margaret Lauber
Mary Sears Morgan

Zeta, The George Washington University

Ruth Bicknell Platt
Dorothy Currier Meehan
Sarah Williams Phillips
Mildred Blevins Herron
Margaret Sanders
Mary Fabre

Eta, Illinois Wesleyan University

Virginia Roberts McIlwain
Virginia McMullen Tanner
Elaine Murphy Kent
Mary Gray Keighin
Iona Kingdon Davis
Marie Mead Evans
Lucile Bower Theobald
Beverly Diers Meyer
Helen Jacobs Giese

Iota, University of Denver

Elaine Christensen Ryan
Shirley Grissom Cherry
Mavis Lorenzen Tyler
Margaret Domer Burnett
Virginia Lee Knudsen
Joanne Malloy Lacy
Laverne Lees
Florence Culver Schaefer
Laura Martin McLean
Dorolea Dugdale Book
Marcella Knudsen Rogers
Harriette Mayo Graham
Annette Robertson Frazier
Jean Clifford Hewitt

Lambda, University of California, Berkeley

Dorothy Thompson Biddick
Betty Latimer Corlett
Marion Miller Grisham
Margaret Warde McCarthy
Elizabeth Magner Robinson
Barbara Campbell Clarey
Mary Frick Thomson
Dorothy Ingols Christian
Mary Martin Carlsen
Mary Tuttle Cox
Elizabeth Watkins Currier
Mildred Dunshee

Mu, University of Washington

Patricia Earley King
Winifred Martinis Riecken
Donalda Nelson Phillips
Patricia Craigen Rank
Dorothy Schade Watson
Constance Wilson Sawers
Mary Clarke
Vernice Monsey Brown
Dorothy Short Kircher
Mary Turner
Mary Haney Cook
Virginia Carlson Brangwin
Geraldine Wagner Campbell

Nu, Middlebury College

Mary Koehler Shaw
Mary Hickcox
Edith Carruthers Kelley
Maude Nielsen

Xi, The University of Kansas

Frances Moyer Hekhuis
Alice Stone Portwood
Harriet Nettels Bradley

Omicron, Tufts University

Ethel MacNeil Buck
Margaret Stewart Peneles
Mary Klein
Esther Perkins Williams
Norma Mori
Madelyn Brown Gehling
Murilyn Holland Moor
Hesterlene Lantery

Sigma, Southern Methodist University

Dorothy Taylor Beckham
Dorothy Hyles Manes

Tau, Indiana University

Martha Barnett Bowsher
Elsie Giesman Siechen
Dorothy Dierking Currie

Upsilon, Oregon State University

Lela French Jacobson
Margaret Allison Clauss
Geraldine Bunch Belknap
Marynora Gianella Friedberg
Suzanne Lewis Knox
Mary Speer Burco
Elizabeth Hilton Elliott
Constance Shupe Plants
Jeanne Moyer Knowlton
Charlotte Older Powell
Mary McKenzie Wahl
Peggy Shelburne Childs

Phi, University of Rhode Island

Barbara Drummond Lagerquist
Edith Stene
Virginia Boyden Pantone
Mary Lightbody Gray
Constance Brown Lovell
Marcia Walcott Smith

Psi, University of Wisconsin

Margaret Belitz Jensen
Ann Johnson Meader
Virginia Neitzke Tiffany
June Cunningham Gage
Dorothy Buchholz Williams
Annette Morrison Luckow

Omega, Florida State University

Katherine Butler Halford
Dorothea Kaupe
Emily Thompson Donaldson
Georgie Hall Terwillegar
Frances Gaither Blake
Virginia Tacker Askew

Alpha Beta, University of Buffalo

Grace Bowers Hoctor
Martha Webster Waldo
Ruth King Balchunas
Barbara Stetson Rogers

Alpha Gamma, Washington State University

Betty Flett
Frances Burrows Bellmont
Patricia Loudin Branson
Gerilee Wormell Santmyers
Helen Satterberg Wolfberg
Ruth Rowlands Demey

Alpha Delta, The University of Tennessee

Rose Guthrie Graubman
Mary Jane Cook Hilyer
Ruth Weileman Weileman

Alpha Epsilon, Iowa State University

Betty Camenisch McBride
Elizabeth Groves Warden
Margaret Packard Hanson
Alice Ryder Landgren
Violet Thierman Thompson
Barbara Richter Owen

Alpha Zeta, Cornell University

Mary LeClear Gluck
Jacqueline Graff Courtenay
Myra Morris Carman
Harriet Wilhelm Baldwin
Eunice Shepard Barnes
Beryl Cooke Wilson
Lillian Laird Murdock
Eloise Hendershot Lennox
Gertrude Palmer Kimball
Avis Norton Williams

Alpha Eta, University of Minnesota

Bette Espeland Wamstead
Roberta Petrick
Margaret Adams Froehlich
Hildegard Vox Hopt

Alpha Theta, University of Louisville

Martha Diebold Davis
Martha Stark Winter
Julia Strunk Esterle
Jacquelyn Coogle Kirchner
Edythe Lepping Pitzer
Myra Poling Dinkins
Mildred Scharre Shea
Elizabeth Dalton Baumann
Patricia Ogden Keith
Julia Potts Jones
Alice Daniels Coleman
Katherine Frey Russell
Miriam Moser Thornton

Alpha Iota, Miami University

Margaret Everitt Peterson
Martha Magoffin Downing
Betty Williams Roberts
Lora Haynie Warner
Margaret Summersgill Lewis
Barbara Hayes Janssen
Phyllis Leiner Hitchcock
Harriette Peer McNemar
Marguerite Fuhrman Baker
Eleanor Pierson Matthews
Marjorie Bechtol Wiley
Juanita Souder Carmichael
Mary Hausher Fair

Alpha Kappa, University of Nebraska

Rosella Olson Butterworth
Marilyn Hall Walsh
Mary Jane Rettenmayer Thompson

Alpha Lambda, Adelphi University

Helen Sheldon
Elsie Schuermann

Alpha Nu, University of Montana

Jean Swenson Knights
Edith Ward Malcome
Joan Arrivee Wagenblast
Maxine O’Donnell Race
Leona Welsh

Alpha Omicron, University of California, Los Angeles

Adeline Oliver McElroy
Loie Gaunt
Lois Tuchscherer Boland
Georgana Kline Holland
Mildred Anderson French
Elenore Taft Hall
Genevieve Sweeney Johnston
Ann Georgeson Wanglin
Jean Sutton MacDonald-Wright

Alpha Sigma, Westminster College

Doris Snowden Patterson
Ann Schmid Kelley
Doris Gillium Debenedictis

Alpha Tau, Michigan State University

Edna Stewart Green
Lucile Funk Hicks
Marywin Mathis Rifenburg
Phyllis Edwards Maner
Shirley White Johnson
Marilyn Fox Dunn
Patricia Wise Baker

Alpha Phi, University of Oregon

Elna Ramey Temple
Anita Hamprecht Ford
Sarah Wakefield Hamilton
Beatrice Chambers Dolan
Barbara Wilson O’Brien

Alpha Chi, Georgetown College

Mary Ferguson Black
Mary Hambrick Overall
Edith Turner Rust

Alpha Psi, Duke University

Helen Bunting Kaley
Marcia Hultberg Wright
Bernice Thacker Burton
Yvonne Spann Boone
Elizabeth Dilts Kibbee
Anna Lawrence
Blanna Brower Harriss

Alpha Omega, University of Alabama

Marion Schapp Higgins
Marilyn Grisbaum Moore

Beta Gamma, University of Manitoba

Maarjory Wilding McLean

Beta Delta, University of Miami

Helen Watson
Anne Sargent Perry

Beta Epsilon, Louisiana Tech University

Sarah Keebler
Betty Meredith Horton
Alice Cochran Williamson
Melba Lee McIntosh
Annette Farmer Shelor
Doris Shaw Thorpe
Connie Lahaye Larson

Beta Zeta, University of Maryland

Catherine Bowers
Elizabeth Jullien Hallman
Annie-Ruth Topping
Hilde Christensen McGrath
Thelma Pohlman Ross
Mary Ryan Schwartz
Ann Wolf

Seventy-Five Year Pin

The seventy-five year pin is a golden violet surrounded by an open triangle with a diamond in the middle of the violet and the Greek letters Σk set to the left side of the triangle.

The seventy-five year pin is available for order thorough national headquarters. If you would like to order one, please contact Chapter Finance Specialist Erica Lagos at or (317)381-5508.

The following women are celebrating 75 years of membership in Sigma Kappa.

Thank you for keeping Sigma Kappa close to your heart for a lifetime!

Read the full article at

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