Banding Together Behind a Brother in Need

Ryan Olmsted, like any other member of his chapter at Oregon State University, was more than excited to have a place to call home and friends to call brothers. Though he was a junior when he joined, Olmsted was able to move into the chapter house right away, due to his upperclassmen standing.

From there, Olmsted became a crucial part of the fraternity, a guy everyone loved and respected.

“It was cool that he was able to jump into the house full force, living in here,” said Andrew Brewington, High Rho.  “He actually lived right down the hall from me, so I got to see him all the time.”

As Olmsted settled into fraternity life and it came time to scatter for the holidays over winter break, he started to feel strange.

Olmsted was admitted to the ICU shortly before Christmas as doctors performed numerous tests to pinpoint what might be wrong.  Finally, the diagnosis was in.

Olmsted was suffering from Guillain-Barré syndrome, a very rare autoimmune disorder where the immune system attacks the nervous system.

When Brewington and other brothers heard what was going on, all thoughts of winter term initiation left their minds.  Their main focus now was banding together behind a brother in need.

The brothers wasted no time in setting up shifts in which they could visit Olmsted at the hospital.  According to Brewington, much of Olmsted’s time in the hospital was consumed with lab tests, but not much else.

As a new associate member, Olmsted was asked to “take the jump” into brotherhood.

After the brothers’ first visit to the hospital, the house raised $170 in about 10 minutes for video games to help lift Olmsted’s spirits.

“It was really great to see how the house came together to make sure that he was getting through his winter break OK,” said Brewington.

In the following weeks, Brewington and his brothers did their best to learn what Olmsted was going through.  Though not much is known about the disorder, it takes months of physical therapy for a patient to reach a full recovery, usually anywhere from 6-12 months.  However, Olmsted has shown great progress and is on track for a 3-4 month recovery with intense physical therapy.

To help aid the financial burden of the physical therapy, the Oregon State chapter started a GoFundMe page, aiming to raise between $3,000 and $5,000 for medical expenses.

Olmsted’s brothers have been nothing but supportive during his recovery.

So far, a total of $2,277 have been raised and the outpour of support has been overwhelming.  Other Greek organizations have donated and even chapters around the nation, such as the Miami University chapter, have pitched in for Olmsted’s recovery.

“It gives you a lot of pride and makes you feel very included in this Greek community when we have ladies from sororities sending donations or nationally, like Miami University,” said Brewington.  “It’s just really cool to realize that being part of Greek life isn’t just a club, it’s a family.”

In the meantime, the Oregon State chapter is continuing to collect donations and counting down the days until their brother can come home.
To make a donation for Ryan Olmsted’s medical expenses, please click here.