Student-organized fundraiser raises big bucks for life





By Emily Lataif

Contributing Writer




Approximately 30 university of Dallas students attended Heroic Media’s annual Prayer Breakfast for Life at the Hilton Hotel in Dallas. The fundraiser, which hosted approximately 340 people and half a dozen speakers, was organized mainly by Kevin Fitzpatrick, a senior theology major at UD. Fitzpatrick was recently hired as Heroic Media’s development assistant for its Dallas chapter.

The event raised $40,000 prior to the breakfast through pledges and the sale of tables and seats at the breakfast. Though a final total has not been counted, Heroic Media expects to have raised thousands more through table donations made during the breakfast.

Fitzpatrick felt the pressure to do well for both his job and a cause he believed in.

“After sending out over 20 letters and making phone calls, I had someone pledge the first $5, 000,” Fitzpatrick explained. “I felt like I was finally fulfilling the job that was assigned to me.”

He first heard about the organization when invited as a student to the previous year’s prayer breakfast. He later called Heroic Media asking for an internship opportunity. This internship eventually led to his current job.

“It really touched me,” Fitzpatrick said. “I really saw value in what they were doing.”

Heroic Media, an international, faith-based non-profit, seeks to reach women in crisis pregnancy situations through the media. As speaker Rev. Joe Young noted, even culturally liberal cities like Austin have seen an estimated 20 percent decrease in abortions due to Heroic Media’s powerful TV commercials, online ads and billboards.  Their efforts, he said, are aimed at changing the culture.

“Law follows culture. We need to build a national culture to change national laws,” Young explained.

The breakfast opened on Nov. 20 with a prayer by Auxiliary Bishop Douglas Deshotel of the Diocese of Dallas, followed by an overview of the group’s mission, strategy and methods of outreach by Marissa Cope, director of marketing and communications. Cope shared three commercials to illustrate Heroic Media’s work. One emphasized the choice of adoption for women considering abortions, while another was directed at minority women in crisis pregnancy situations and provided a phone number for them to call. Cope, who was adopted herself, talked about the personal aspect this issue has for her.

The keynote speaker was Father Edwin Leonard, the Vocations Director for the Diocese of Dallas. UD students may recognize him as an occasional Mass celebrant at the Church of the Incarnation. In his address, Leonard called on the attendees to share the Gospel of life.

“Your voice can be powerful,” Leonard said. “Part of the good news is being excited. We are not fearful. We know what the Lord is capable of. He conquered death.”

The event closed with a prayer from Father Thomas Esposito, a Cistercian priest and university professor.


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