Alumnus eats Chipotle to raise money, awareness

Chipotle

Chipotle

Annie Furia and Annie Furia

Eating Chipotle for 100 days in a row might sound like a dream come true for some University students, but Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity alumnus Joe Gallo didn’t do it for himself.

Gallo ate a Chipotle burrito once a day for 100 days in order to raise money for his fraternity brother and fellow alumnus Bret Grund, who was diagnosed with stage 4 brain cancer.

Originally, the “100 days of Chipotle” challenge simply started as a joke.

“He originally started it as a satire,” said Nick Wainwright, internal vice-president of Pi Kappa Alpha. “He was kind of making fun of the whole idea of ‘100 days of happiness’ that you see a lot of people doing on Instagram.”

Gallo said that as it was a joke, he didn’t originally intend to do the challenge for the full 100 days.

However, only a few days into his “100 days of Chipotle” challenge, Gallo learned of Grund’s diagnosis and decided to use the challenge to help.

“As soon as he learned about that, he saw it as a good opportunity to raise awareness for that issue and to raise money for Bret Grund’s family,” Wainwright said.

Gallo’s inspiration to use the challenge to help his fraternity brother came from the attention the challenge had already.

“People seemed to be pretty on board . . . it had a lot of interaction on social media and people were telling me in person, ‘Hey, you should start a GoFund’,” he said.

A GoFundMe campaign was set up during Gallo’s challenge, but the campaign was ended recently so that the money raised could be given to Grund.

Gallo emphasized that money could still be donated by getting in contact with members of Pi Kappa Alpha.

To raise awareness for the GoFundMe campaign, Gallo documented each day of eating Chipotle on his Instagram page, @therealbrogallo. On Aug. 29, Gallo posted a video to Instagram of him eating the final burrito of the 100 day challenge.

Gallo said by that last day, between the challenge and the fraternity’s efforts to raise money, about $12,500 was raised for Grund.

Gallo said when he started using the challenge to support Grund, “I was hoping that eventually it was going to get media attention.”

The story was picked up by the Huffington Post and Fox News, as well as Elite Daily, which Gallo credits for getting the challenge much of its publicity.

Wainwright believes the challenge had far-reaching effects.

“I think that it had a very positive impact not only for Bret, but also for our chapter and for Joe, and also for anybody else who’s going through this because [Gallo] really did a good job of publicizing how important it is that we get people the medical treatment that they need,” he said.

“It really helped a lot of people learn about stage four brain cancer,” Wainwright said.

President of Pi Kappa Alpha Brandon Morrison felt that Gallo’s actions also had an impact much closer to campus: Gallo’s fraternity brothers.

He said, “It just got all the guys excited. It let us all know that given the right mindset, we can all make a pretty big difference just individually, even with something small like eating burritos straight for 100 days.”

Morrison said that the entire fraternity worked to raise money for Grund.

Members were involved in efforts such as “raising awareness and helping the alumni facilitate a picnic for him this summer,” Morrison said.

For Gallo, brotherhood was a key part of the fundraising for Grund.

“This is just a normal thing for the brothers,” Gallo said. “You stand up for family.”