By Sarah Knepp, For The Miami Student
Miami alumnus Jason Madachy's biggest dream was to go to medical school. As a member of Sigma Pi Fraternity with a focus on philanthropy, and a founding member of the medical fraternity Phi Delta Epsilon, he was well on his way to achieving his dream. Until the day he tragically lost his life at age 21.
But, with a scholarship foundation led by his parents, Madachy can still help aspiring medical students achieve their goals, even after his death.
Madachy graduated from Miami in 2007 with a degree in Zoology. After his graduation, he had arrangements to attend the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine at Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia. However, Madachy's plans for the future drastically changed on June 9, 2007.
Madachy had been vacationing at Nags Head in North Carolina with his family and some friends to celebrate his graduation, and was involved in a fatal accident.
"Jason went outside to call his girlfriend Jenn," Jason's mother Dolly Madachy said. "We believe he took the last bite of hot dog out with him and choked. It appears he tried to do the Heimlich and passed out and fell two stories. We will never know for sure, but that is what we believed happened."
Following the death of their son, Madachy's parents decided to set up a scholarship to carry on Jason's memory.
"Jason loved Miami, and when he became a doctor, he wanted to leave a legacy of making a difference," Dolly said. "In 2008, we had started a memorial scholarship in Jason's name."
The Jason Madachy Foundation began offering monetary scholarships to promising pre-medical students, but its humble beginnings made it difficult for the foundation to help a lot of students.
The monetary scholarship is a one-time offering of $1,200. Before the foundation's growth, only one student was able to receive the scholarship each year.
"We expanded our foundation's reach and started to provide stethoscopes to first-year medical students," Dolly said.
Since the foundation's expansion, the Madachy family has been able to reach out to many more students; several thousand students have received stethoscopes.
"To date, we have given out over 2,000 Littman Cardiology
Stethoscopes across the U.S.," Dolly said.
To offer the scholarship to so many students, the Madachy family and the Jason Madachy Foundation promoted the scholarship every year at Miami to spread awareness about their mission.
"We have returned [to Miami] every year to support both Sigma Pi in their Mom's weekend and fundraiser, and the Phi Delta Epsilon dinner that supports Cincinnati Children's Hospital," Dolly said. "At this dinner, we have provided stethoscopes to the students from Miami who have been accepted to med school."
The Jason Madachy Foundation has a focus on and special bond with Miami students. However, the foundation stretches beyond the Miami community.
"We have partnered with Ohio University, Wright State, Emory Med in Atlanta and Midwestern Medical School in both Phoenix and Chicago," Dolly said.
The foundation is always looking for additional financial support to be able to help and reward more students. The Madachys said they would love to see more Miami students receive the scholarship, especially the stethoscope component of the scholarship. Out of all the stethoscopes the Jason Madachy Foundation has provided, only one was awarded to a Miami student. Each stethoscope the Jason Madachy Foundation awards is engraved with "Excel in Leaving a Mark."
The scholarship granted by the foundation is given to a junior or senior pre-medical student. Students who receive the scholarship must have a GPA of at least 3.25.
Because of Jason's involvement in Sigma Pi and passion for philanthropy, the foundation typically prefers students who are a part of Greek life and are dedicated to service.
Junior Erin Bell received the scholarship after applying for general biology scholarships. Not knowing much about the scholarship she received, Bell sought more information.
"I read about the foundation and his story and it was very humbling for me," she said. "What happened to Jason was very sad because he would have been a great physician. I think that the foundation is great because his parents encourage future doctors."
Bell said she feels grateful to be able to carry on Jason's legacy and make the Madachy family proud in her medical pursuits.
"Even though their son wasn't able to become a doctor, his parents still want to help make a difference in his name," Bell said.
The foundation aims to bring the Miami medical community together to not only prepare students for medical school and reward them for doing well, but also to honor Jason's life and legacy.
"Our hope is to act as the glue that will bring together all of the pre-med students: Miami Med, the Chemistry Group, Phi Delta Epsilon and the other students who will come together collectively to let others know about the Jason Madachy Foundation," Dolly said. "We want them to help us raise funds so that when each and every [pre-medical] student graduates from Miami, we will have the necessary funds to be able to provide them with stethoscopes."
For more information about the Jason Madachy Foundation and