Supporting ‘the UWL family’

UWL sophomore Chase Lehman, along with his fraternity, Lambda Chi Alpha, is organizing the fundraiser to carry on the passion of Emma Mertens, the daughter of a UWL alumnus.

UW-La Crosse fraternity launches fundraiser to support Wisconsin girl’s wishes of helping animals

An 8-year-old Hartland, Wisconsin, girl whose battle with a brain tumor and love for dogs attracted an international, viral response on social media, died Nov. 17. But support for her passion of caring for canines lives on.  

When University of Wisconsin-La Crosse student Chase Lehman heard the news, he decided to get his fraternity at UWL, Lambda Chi Alpha, involved. They are getting other members of the Greek community on campus to support a fundraiser for the foundation created to honor Emma’s love of animals, the Emma Loves Dogs Foundation.   

“My grandparents are Emma’s neighbor,” says Lehman. “I’ve been following her story since it first came out in January. We want to keep her memory alive. She was a very passionate young lady.” 

Emma’s father, Geoff Mertens, is a 2000 graduate of UWL. Hearing of the family’s loss was incredibly sad, says Lehman, a sophomore microbiology major. “We are all part of the UWL family,” notes Lehman. “We need to reach out to people when they need us.” 

To honor Emma’s memory, Lehman is organizing an “Instagram Bingo” event to raise money for the Emma Loves Dogs Foundation, a foundation Emma inspired that funds organizations that share her passion for helping animals.  

The UWL chapter of the fraternity, Lambda Chi Alpha, will be sharing the bingo event on its Instragram account Dec. 2-6. People can donate by viewing the chapter’s Instagram story at Learn more on how to play below. Other members of UWL’s Greek Life will also be sharing the event. To contribute directly to the Emma Loves Dogs Foundation visit 

Emma Mertens died of a rare brain tumor, diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, on Nov. 17. A post on her Facebook page went viral after asking dog owners to share pictures and letters. Emma’s story garnered national media attention as well including Good Morning America and U.S.A. Today. 

Lehman says the fraternity is dedicated to community service and philanthropy and supporting Emma’s passion fit that goal. Earlier this semester chapter members held a food drive for the local WAFER Food Pantry, collecting 700 pounds of food.  

How to play: 

Instagram Bingo features an online scorecard with donations ranging from $1-$5 per blank. Once a donation for an amount is made, the square is crossed out. The chapter’s goal is to blackout as many bingo cards as possible and donate all proceeds to the foundation.