By Micaela Itona
On April 24th, the NJIT community and Sigma Pi fraternity faced a huge loss. Student and Sigma Pi brother Stivel Ramirez passed away after serious health complications. Last Thursday morning, he had woken up with a chest pain that migrated to his lower body. A trip to the hospital lead to an MRI scan, and Ramirez subsequently suffered a seizure and stroke. At 9:30 pm that Thursday night, as a result of complications due to the seizure and stroke, Ramirez had undergone open heart surgery. After the surgery, a number of other complications arose. He began suffering from blood clots in his legs and was suffering internal bleeding in the legs, chest cavity and lungs, requiring further surgery. It was discovered that Ramirez had undiagnosed Type 2 Diabetes. On Sunday morning, April 24th, Ramirez was declared 100% brain dead, and was taken off of life support that afternoon.
Stivel was born on October 21st, 1992. He was a transfer student and an aspiring biomedical engineer. He pledged to the Sigma Pi fraternity during his first semester at NJIT during the Fall of 2014. For his entire career as a student and Sigma Pi brother, he put the happiness of others before anything else. Stivel had a strong interest in neurobiology and tutored biology to many students. On his off hours, he loved to cook, even clean, and drove his friends crazy with his antics.
He was a real character. Sigma Pi brothers Austin Okula, junior mechanical engineering technology major and James Dogali, junior civil engineering major, say he was a huge pop culture buff, and would crack references to television shows or movies even if no one would get the joke. There wasn’t a song he didn’t know the words to, no movie he couldn’t remember. He had such a presence that you just knew when he was in the room.
Austin and James argue whether or not the house plants that populated Stivel’s room were desert plants or not. “They were desert plants – he didn’t need to water them! Right?” “Regardless I had never seen him water the plants. A few times, I would wake up at 3 in the morning to some noises, and I would wake up to him watering the plants,” says Austin. Stivel did things his own way, in his own character, with a flair for being stubborn and sassy that was endeared by those around him. During the holiday season, Stivel would take the time to wrap people’s gifts in the shape of animals. An elephant, whale, anything – and he would spend hours with wrapping paper, tissue paper and tape for his ephemeral paper sculptures.
It’s these quirks and silly non-sequiturs that we remember most about people we view as unique, genuine- people that we truly care about. Considering the vibrant and dynamic community as NJIT, we should all choose to embrace these silly and small memories we make – for we look back and hold those nearest to us.
At this time, the brothers of Sigma Pi and the Ramirez family would like to state:
“We deeply appreciate all the support of the NJIT and Sigma Pi fraternity during such a difficult time. We can’t express how happy we are that we get a chance to make the community aware of what an exceptional person Stivel was. His caring heart has touched many people, and we are grateful for the opportunity to share our memory of him with the community.” Sigma Pi brother Ryan Archer would like to state that ““We truly believe he is a one-of-a-kind person, and we’ll never meet someone like him again.”
Currently, the Sigma Pi brothers have set up a GoFundMe page (http://bit.do/stivelsp) to assist the Ramirez family with any incurred costs and medical bills. Additionally, there will be a softball tournament fundraiser hosted by the brothers of Sigma Pi to raise money for the Ramirez family and dedicate a day to Stivel Ramirez’s memory. The softball tournament fundraiser will be held on May 14th from 1-5pm at the Rutherford Memorial Field. The brothers hope to make the fundraiser an annual event, and potentially create a foundation with the money donated to Stivel Ramirez’s name. Please forward all inquiries about the fundraiser softball tournament, including donations, gift baskets, and ways you can participate to the following email: firstname.lastname@example.org
On this Thursday, April 28th, there will be a vigil held on the Honors Green in front of Greek village open to the NJIT community at 9:15 pm. A service will also be held before the vigil at the Sigma Pi house at 7pm for Stivel’s friends and family.
Please email email@example.com with any inquiries about the softball tournament fundraiser and see the GoFundMe page here: http://bit.do/stivelsp