Brothers of the fraternity Zeta Beta Tau (ZBT) took their commitment to Team Mateo to the next level when they shaved their heads in the University Union (UU) Plaza Thursday, Feb. 28. ZBT members decided to shave their heads in solidarity with seven-year-old Mateo Cota who is going through chemotherapy for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.
The fraternity is using their “Get On the Ball” campaign to raise money for the Cota family to help with their expenses as their son battles cancer.
ZBT began fundraising for the Cota’s in 2013 when Mateo was first diagnosed with Leukemia. Mateo’s mother and long-time Cal Poly faculty member Erika Cota worked with a few ZBT members during her time working in student life and leadership.
“[ZBT] instantly heard our story because of my relationship with just a few of them, and they were like ‘We are going to do something for Mateo and the family,’ and they have literally been by our side since 2013,” Cota said.
ZBT’s fundraising efforts this year include events at Blaze Pizza and Woodstock’s Pizza, an on-campus Knockerball tournament, and an online CrowdChange page.
The fraternity also raised money by gathering signatures on a giant beach ball at their booths in the UU Plaza and at the Farmers Market. According to ZBT’s philanthropy chair and political science senior Ben Elisarraraz, each signature will be met with a 5¢ donation from several corporate sponsors.
Cota said she was at a loss for words when she saw the pictures of ZBT members shaving their heads.
“Me and my husband both just lost it. I mean how many college kids do you know that would actually make that bold statement on behalf of our son,” Cota said. “Mateo is just going to see this and know that he’s not alone.”
So far, the fraternity has raised around $4,500 this week, according to Elisarraraz. ZBT will continue to accept donations through their CrowdChange page until Sunday evening, March 3.