Sleeping Giant in Hamden is a known mountain to many hikers and commuters who pass by it daily.
For Quinnipiac University student Joey Mullaney, getting to the top was almost impossible because of a disease affecting his ability to walk.
That is when his Sigma Psi Epsilon fraternity brothers decided to step up in a big way to help him get there.
“Joey has taught us so much. More than anything we could learn in college,” said fraternity brother Jon Nanna.
Mullaney has Friedreich’s Ataxia, which is a neurological disease affecting his balance and his hand and eye coordination. He uses a motorized scooter to get around, but the disease was impacting his desire to see his college from the top of Sleeping Giant.
“Only about one in 50,000 people in the country have it (Friedreich’s Ataxia), and I was unable to walk up there by myself,” Mullaney said.
His fraternity brothers started to plan a way to get him up the mountain, and it took them two years to figure out how to do it.
Mullaney had no clue about the plan until last Friday.
“We told Joey we were taking him out to breakfast and when we brought him to the base of the mountain we surprised him. One by one we bought him to the top of the mountain on our backs,” Nanna said.
“The Sleeping Giant is such a staple in the Quinnipiac community; everyone loves hiking it. It's almost like a tradition,” said fraternity brother Matt Blumenthal.
The group took turns filming it on their cell phones.
Mullaney said the whole time he didn’t know what to think.
“Kind of in shock…almost like please don't drop me,” Mullaney said.
When they reached the top of the mountain, nearly 738 feet high, Mullaney said he was in awe at what he saw.
“It's definitely something to see once in your life,” he said. “I really can't thank them enough for what they did. I don't really know how other than saying thank you.”
His fraternity brothers will be holding a fundraiser for people facing the same disease he is facing, in October.
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