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Money is tight for most college students. Tuition. Textbooks. Dues. But imagine if suddenly, in the middle of your college career, you had to pay for chemotherapy, too. With your parents’ pockets depleted after paying for you to go to university — and your health insurance provider refusing to cover the costs — there is no way for you to afford the treatment you need. No one plans for something like that to happen. No one can plan for something like that. But it was the terrible hand dealt to Kyle Charvat, a Theta Chi at the University of Washington.
Charvat died in 2006 when he was unable to afford a treatment that would have added precious months to his life. His medical insurance would not cover the $100,000 cost.
In his memory, the brothers of Theta Chi founded the Kyle Charvat Foundation later that year. The nonprofit organization pays for cancer patients’ expenses, including groceries, medications, physical therapy, and transporting the patients to and from their treatments.
To raise money and awareness for the foundation, three Theta Chi brothers are biking cross country this summer. The brothers spoke to The Daily about how cancer has affected each of their lives personally.
Theta Chi’s current Alpha Rho president, Josh Bean, whose father passed away in February 2016 from cancer, sees the trip as a means of living by his fraternity’s mission of lending a helping hand.
“I can’t even imagine being a college-age student not having that ability to go and buy your basic groceries or be able to drive yourself because you’re too exhausted from the chemotherapy,” Bean said. “We see this ride as a living embodiment of how our chapter has fulfilled lending a helping hand.”
Sophomore Matt Gaylor sees the ride as a means of continuing the foundation’s legacy of helping students manage the stresses that come with cancer.
“To watch someone so vibrant and so energized just slowly becoming a shell of a person from the brain cancer, I can’t imagine how a family would deal with having their kid go through that,” Gaylor said. “Any help we can give to just alleviate the financial stresses they have so they can really focus on healing and really focus on coming together as a family [is the goal].”
A sophomore and business major at the UW’s Foster School of Business, Nigel Hall wanted to ride in memory of his grandmother, who died of a brain tumor when he was younger.
“We would like to see this continue year after year, maybe get a couple riders going and continually supporting this foundation,” Hall said. “Hopefully this spurs another group of guys to say, ‘Hey, let’s keep doing this, let’s keep lending a helping hand for these kids.’ You can prepare for college, but you can’t prepare for cancer.”
The crew, who have been training for the journey for months, set off on June 20 in Anacortes for a 40-day ride to Boston. They raised $6,500 before the trip, and hope to raise another $20,000 by the time they reach the finish line. All proceeds (minus about $3,000 for things like food and tire expenses) will go directly to the Kyle Charvat Foundation.
[via The Daily]
Image via The Daily