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Alumni and Friends Making an Impact

Photo of Chase in Flyer attire

Weird Is the New Community

Becoming a new mother didn’t go the way Ariella Siegel ’13 expected. Her son, Chase, arrived five weeks early and spent nearly a week in the hospital, so when the doorbell rang a few days after the new family came home, neither Siegel nor her husband, Ryan Landy ’13, felt ready for company.

But that was okay with Amy Plassenthal ’08.

She and her husband, Christopher Plassenthal ’08, lived around the corner from Siegel in suburban Cincinnati but, for some reason, they had never noticed the UD Flyers flag in Siegel’s yard before. They saw it now though, along with balloons announcing Chase’s arrival. And that gave Plassenthal an idea. Her son, Will, had just outgrown a few Flyer outfits, and she knew they would be perfect for Chase. Plassenthal packed up the outfits and, with a little note welcoming Chase to the Flyer family, left the gifts at the front door.

“Will had grown out of them so why not?” said Plassenthal. “We were just hoping that it wasn’t taken as a weird gesture. We Flyers have to be supportive of one another!”

“When the doorbell rang, we thought that maybe it was a neighbor. We had hoped for cookies,” said Siegel. “But it was so much better than cookies! It was the nicest thing on the planet.”

Touched by the gesture, Siegel shared the random act of Flyer kindness on social media.

“It was one of those thoughts I had where I didn’t know how they would react,” said Plassenthal. “It’s an amazing experience to have a baby and raise a human. Now that I’m a mom, I’ve been there and done that, and I know it’s not easy.”

“After such a stressful week at the hospital, it was really nice,” said Siegel.

The women are now friends and are making plans to take walks together with their boys. The Flyer families hope to attend UD men’s basketball games together this winter, too.

And it all started with a gesture that proves the sense of community so many Flyers value on campus continues after graduation and beyond the University.

“Don’t worry about thinking you’re weird,” said Siegel. “Those first few weeks of Chase’s life were hard when they were supposed to be exciting. To have someone reach out with an act of kindness like that made our month.”

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