Bio Honor Society raises funds for injured student

The Biology Honor Society held a fundraiser on Friday for sophomore Hayden Nichols, a St. John’s student who was severely injured last semester after falling several stories from a balcony.

The Hayden Nichols Fundraiser Dance featured several raffles, food and live entertainment, including a DJ, belly dancing and a performance by the St. John’s Improv Club, a club of which Nichols was a part.

Senior George Kunkel, the president and founder of the Phi Sigma National Biology Honor Society at St. John’s, set the event up with the help of his brother Nicholas Kunkel, who is the media production director of the society. Nicholas was a friend of Nichols and the two brothers felt a need to help out in any way they could.

“It came to us after visiting Hayden in the hospital for a few days after his accident,” George Kunkel said. “We needed a tangible way to assist him with medical expenses.”

Over Christmas break, the brothers visited local businesses and asked for their assistance in order to fund the event and provide the means to make the event a fundraiser, according to Kunkel.

Nicholas made the flyers for the event and a promotional web banner that was featured on the Biology Honor Society website.  He also came up with the idea for the YouTube video that was posted on St. John’s Central, and starred in the video as well, as it was set to an original song which he wrote and performed.

In the spirit of fundraising, St. John’s students paid $5 at the door to get in.  They also had the opportunity to enter several raffles.  Local businesses such as Allstate, Kaplan, Midtown Bookkeeping and the Barlian Corporation all donated items to be raffled off, such as gift certificates, gift baskets and a gold bracelet.

Food was donated from several local businesses and families as well, from establishments such as Qdoba, Bagel Oasis, Regina’s Pizza, Tango Steakhouse and the Enriquez Family.

“The event is really cool, and I think you can see that a lot of effort went into it and that a lot of people put in hard work to make it successful,” Louise Donohoe, a senior who has mutual friends with Nichols, said.

“I don’t know Hayden personally but I heard about the situation and wanted to help,” sophomore Luis Santos, a computer science major, said.

As far as Hayden’s condition is concerned, he is currently in post-rehabilitation care at the Transitional Learning Community in Galveston, Texas, according to his mother Malinda Moller.

“This is the facility that will continue improving his physical health and will initiate the vocational and occupational rehab that God willing will enable Hayden to return to St. John’s to complete his bachelor’s degree,” Moller said. “I am hopeful Hayden will be able to return for the 2014-15 school year.”

Although the brothers have raised $2000 so far, they would like to continue helping Nichols and his family.  They have made a GiveForward account that will continue to accept donations for Nichols.  If you would like to contribute, the account can be found at