Alpha Phi Red Dress Poker event raises $7K for heart health

By ALYSSA SOBOTKA, UNK Communications

KEARNEY – What do a sorority, red dresses and poker have in common? They all help support women’s heart health.

The University of Nebraska at Kearney Alpha Phi sorority recently hosted its 10th annual Red Dress Poker Tournament, and raised more $7,000. Proceeds from the event go toward the Alpha Phi Foundation, which supports education and research for cardiac care and heart disease.

“My sister-in-law just recently found out that she has a hole in her heart,” said Bailey Lehmkuhler, Alpha Phi director of philanthropy. “We have heart disease in my family, so it’s always been a big issue in my life.”

The sorority raised money in two ways. Student and community members purchased tournament tickets for $12 in advance or $15 at the door. Tournament tickets included a meal and set of poker chips. Supporters could also purchase raffle tickets.

Robert Carson, senior K-6 education and special education double major of Kearney and a member of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity, was the winner of the poker tournament. Carson took home the grand prize, a 50-inch Smart TV.

Denise Kaps of Kearney was the winner of the raffle and received a Go Pro camera.

The support of students plays an important role of the tournament’s success, but so does the community, Lehmkuhler said.

“Outside of the UNK students we have a huge support system – there’s a bunch of smaller poker playing groups and they usually come to it,” she said.

More than 200 hundred people participated in the tournament. Proceeds from the evening are continuing to be tallied. The event has raised more than $19,000 over the past three years.

“I liked having the community here,” said Kayla Turner, junior Spanish major from Papillion. “They really get into it and it’s fun for them.”


Source: Bailey Lehmkuhler, 308.520.7294,

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