“I am my Brother’s Keeper.”
In the old testament that was posed as a question. G-d asked Cain where his brother was and Cain responded with, “I know not; am I my brother’s keeper?”
In AEPi, there is no question. It’s a declarative statement. “I Am My Brothers’ Keeper.”
Brother Geoff Schoenberg (Delaware, 2007) can speak to that fact. A Type 1 Diabetic since the age of six, Brother Schoenberg is now in end-stage kidney disease and is desperately looking for a kidney transplant. And leading the campaign to help him find a donor are his AEPi Brothers.
“I was in AZA and BBYO in high school and when I got to the University of Delaware, I didn’t think I would join a fraternity based on my perceptions of what a fraternity was. But we had an opportunity to start our own chapter and then I met some guys from AEPi National, and we visited some other chapters,” said Brother Schoenberg.
“AEPi became a connection with my Judaism that coalesced as a fraternity. Greek life can go a lot of different ways and this felt more like Brothers and a family than guys in a social club.”
As the re-founding master of the Rho Deuteron chapter at the University of Delaware, Brother Schoenberg had a chance to help build the chapter from the ground up and based in the right values. “I knew that AEPi would mean more than four years.”
That has certainly been the case.
“Geoff and I grew up together in Wilmington, Delaware. He’s been pretty much my best friend my whole life,” said Brother Rob Lattin (Arizona, 2008). “Even though I didn’t go to Delaware with him and some of our friends, I always felt like a pseudo member of the chapter. Geoff is just a wonderful human being who doesn’t deserve this.”
After graduating from Delaware, Brother Schoenberg wanted to move to Los Angeles to pursue a career in acting and comedy, but his father was sick with cancer. “He had had cancer for a few years, and I didn’t want to leave him,” he recalled. “I remember being with him while he was getting chemo and he told me to go and live my life. He said that I needed to go to LA and give it my best effort. About a week later, my mom called me and told me that I needed to get back home to Delaware immediately. I was able to make it home in time to tell him that I had already done my first comedy set at an open mic night. He was so happy, and I was able to say goodbye.”
During the pandemic as the entertainment world came to a standstill, Geoff moved back home to Delaware to help his family run their business, the only Jewish funeral home in all of Delaware.
“I think Geoff is kind of shell shocked now,” said Brother Lattin. “He’s done so much for others that he wasn’t sure how to move forward as his health deteriorated.”
Late-stage kidney disease often accompanies juvenile diabetics as they get older. Brother Schoenberg has recently been put on peritoneal dialysis, which means for 8.5 hours every night a tube in his stomach is hooked up to a machine that cleans toxins out of the body by repeatedly flushing and draining 5 liters of fluid through the torso. The dialysis has left him tired, weak, and unsure of his future.
Brother Lattin and other Rho Deuteron Brothers have leapt into action and organized a national campaign to raise awareness of Geoff’s situation and to try to find a living donor who can help.
“We made a video and sent it to our fraternity Brother, Ben Warheit (Delaware, 2009). He’s a writer for Seth Meyers and was at the Emmys with Seth but took time that night to look at the piece and make some suggestions. (Editor’s note: Click here to read more about Brother Warheit). We’re going to do everything we can to find him a kidney, to save his life.”
“AEPi is more than being in school together. It’s more than business networking as an alum. It’s deeper and more important than that,” said Brother Lattin.
Geoff’s Brothers have put together a microsite on the University of Pennsylvania’s transplant center website to raise awareness and to expand the search for a suitable kidney. All Brothers are encouraged to visit the site and to begin the donor screening process. “It would be great if our Brothers could share this site with their networks to expand the search,” said Lattin. “It is exactly in times like these where we need to be there for our Brothers—as one never knows when we’ll be on the receiving end.”
“Geoff is a unique individual who has impacted so many people. He is incredibly generous, thoughtful, and caring, and is the type of person who truly would give you the shirt off his back—and offer to pay for your tailoring if it didn’t fit you quite right.”
“It’s our turn to help him now.”
We are our Brothers’ Keepers.
AEPi Brothers are encouraged to visit the website and complete the online form. Through the University of Pennsylvania Hospital’s matching program, anyone can donate a kidney. Even if you aren’t a match for Geoff, by donating a kidney on Geoff’s behalf you can propel him to the top of the list when a match for him becomes available. Please share this campaign with your networks. To reach Brother Lattin, please email him at [email protected].