Beta Theta Pi’s Miles for Molly and Colly


Courtesy of Emmet Scanlon

Members of Beta Theta Pi celebrate after a successful fundraiser.

Julia Stanisci, Staff Writer


This past weekend, on Nov. 12 and 13, Villanova’s Beta Theta Pi fraternity held its annual “Miles for Molly and Colly” philanthropy event, consisting of a 10+ mile run and Egg Toss competition to raise money for Rett Syndrome research.

The 2020 event was one of the most successful fundraising efforts Beta and Villanova Greek Life overall had ever seen, raising more than $20,000 for Rett Syndrome Research in just one day. Because of this, the fraternity chose to make the run an annual tradition, completing the third Miles for Molly and Colly run this past Saturday.
Rett Syndrome is a rare genetic mutation on the X chromosome affecting brain development primarily in girls (and even more rarely in boys). The disorder leads to severe impairments that affect nearly every aspect of life including walking, talking and eating. Beta  has a personal connection to the cause because chapter alumnus, Greg Foley ’04, has a 10-year old daughter, Molly, who lives with Rett. Recent graduate and Beta member Aidan Ferdinandsen ’22 has a 14 year old brother, Collin, who also lives with Rett. All proceeds from Beta philanthropy events go towards the Rett Syndrome Research Trust, which is continually performing cutting edge research and recently got FDA approval for a gene therapy, which is currently in clinical trials for treating the disorder.

In honor of Molly and Collin, Miles for Molly and Colly was started in the fall of 2020 as a way to fundraise for Rett Syndrome research in a socially distant manner during the COVID-19 pandemic. The original event consisted of Beta members running around the Villanova and greater Philadelphia area, with brothers collecting donations along the way from friends and family members with live updates through Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook. Donations came in either lump-sum payments or per-mile pledges, giving brothers the extra incentive to run as far as possible. Many brothers even ran all the way to the Rocky Steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art on a route the distance of a half-marathon. 

This year was another successful year for this fundraiser, as members of the fraternity ran more than 250 miles total and raised thousands of dollars for Rett syndrome research.

Several members made it all the way to Philly again this year, including sophomore Jake Macaspac. 

“A group of us planned on running from Villanova to the Rocky Steps in Philadelphia, which rounds out to the distance of half a marathon,” Macaspac said. “Knowing it was for such an important cause, I thought I could test if my cross country days were still in me. It turned out well, and I couldn’t have done it without the encouragement of the guys. I’m honored to have participated in the event this year.” 

Senior Emmet Scanlon has served as Beta’s Philanthropy Chair and coordinated Miles for Molly and Colly for the past two years. 

“I am very happy with how this year’s event turned out,” Scanlon said. “With minimal training and preparation, about half of the fraternity was able to make it over five miles, a quarter made it over 10 miles and five bold brothers ran a complete half-marathon ending at the Rocky Steps. In total, Beta ran over 250 miles on Saturday, and we are on track to meet our fundraising mark of $11,000 dollars set at last year’s event. I am very proud of what we were able to do this weekend, and I think our personal connection to Rett Syndrome in Molly and Colin is what gets us to keep running and why we have been so successful in our Philanthropic efforts the past few years.”