UCLA chapter makes new friends on social media, brings hope to toddler with Cardiospondylofacial Syndrome
It all started with a social media post by Kimmy Neuberger, the best friend of Megen Jay, the mother of Dane Jay, an almost one-year-old boy who is currently in UCLA Medical Center, right across the street from the chapter at the University of California-Los Angeles.
Neuberger posted a video on her Instagram story and tagged the UCLA chapter. It wasn’t long before Brother Jack Pearce ’24 saw the post online and brought it to the chapter.
Dane was diagnosed with Cardiospondylofacial Syndrome shortly after he was born. Cardiospondylofacial Syndrome is an extremely rare disease. The condition has required Dane to make multiple visits with specialists, time in occupational and physical therapy, and ongoing evaluations for further understanding of this condition and interventions that may need to be done for him.
On February 5, Dane was rushed to the hospital because he was struggling to breathe. After a chest x-ray and an echo were ordered in the emergency room, doctors learned he had pneumonia in his right lung and was experiencing heart failure. He was later transferred to Children’s Health Orange County.
On February 7, after a few days of around-the-clock care, Megen and her husband Chris received more heartbreaking news. Danes echo had shown no progress, meaning the discussion of a heart transplant was in play. Since CHOC is not a transplant hospital, doctors thought it would be best to transfer Dane to UCLA Medical Center and start the heart transplant workup where Dane would undergo more tests.
The next day, he arrived via helicopter. Three hospitals, two ambulances, and one helicopter ride later, Dane is stable and has remained stable as of today.
Since they have been at UCLA, the brothers at the chapter have become like family to the Jays. Brother Ryan Valte ’22 purchased some gifts for Dane and reached out to the family to set up a meeting after Pearce saw the video on Instagram. Tom Churchyard ’22, Aiden Douglas ’22, David Rich ’22, and Pearce all went to go meet with the family.
“The whole house has really rallied around this cause and I honestly couldn’t be more proud of everyone for the way this has been done,” Eminent Archon Nathan King ’23 said.
“I decided to take a video of the Theta Chi house and the SAE house, tagged them both, and put it on social media,” Neuberger said. “I basically said we’ve got a fighter across the street boys, show him some love” Later that night after the SAE boys saw my post they reached out and without hesitation, within an hour and a half they had come up with a special shout out for Dane.”
“We were all in tears after seeing that,” she said. “We had to show the boys some love right back with a special banner just for them.”
On the window of Dane’s room where the brothers can see from the chapter house is a sign that says, ‘SAE boys thanks 4 The Love’.
“I want to first off applaud and pat on the back each and every one of these boys’ parents because I hope my son would do something like this to bless another family,” Megen Jay said in an interview with CBS-Los Angeles.
“The boys have been incredible, reaching out to see if we need anything or to let them know what they can do to help,” Neuberger told us. “They even walked over some special surprises for him and his family last night. Dane loves what they brought him.”
Dane’s story has made its way around the country, getting featured by local CBS and ABC affiliates and an Instagram account known as Good News Movement, an account with over 3 million followers.
From all of us at the Fraternity Service Center, Phi Alpha to the men at UCLA. To Dane and the Jay family, we are here with you. To donate to Dane’s Go Fund Me, click here.