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Students and community members rally to help student fight battle with cancer

November 30, 2009
By Sarah Gianti

The Colorado State University and Fort Collins communities have united in support for one of their own, raising more than $38,000 through fundraising events and online donations since September 2009.

Testicular cancer diagnosis

Jason Bush, a graduate student in the Department of Anthropology, was diagnosed with stage IIIA testicular cancer only a few days before his health insurance took effect.

Labeling the cancer as a pre-existing condition the insurance company is not liable to cover Bush’s future treatment, leaving the student with mounting medical bills.

Anthropology graduate students, Maureen McNamara and Meaghan Bludau, organized a fundraising event in support of Bush on Nov. 14 at Avogadro’s Number in Fort Collins.

Support from campus friends, colleagues

A group of Bush’s friends came together and “decided we couldn't do anything about Jason’s cancer, his medical insurance, or the health system, but we could support him as a friend and a colleague,” said McNamara. “We wanted to be able to focus on something positive. The last thing we wanted Jason to worry about as he underwent chemo were his finances, so we joined forces, networked and planned the Bushdoctor Benefest.”

The Benefest gave attendees the chance to participate in a silent auction featuring items from local businesses as well as enjoy performances from six local bands. The event raised more than $12,700 and all proceeds were donated to the Jason Bush Cancer Fund to help fund Bush’s current and future medical payments.

Anthropology students come together

“The wild success of this 12-hour Benefest is a product of many things,” said Kate Browne, professor in the Department of Anthropology.

“The inspired leadership of Maureen and Meaghan, the incredible volunteer labor of many other CSU anthropology grad students and their spouses, the generosity of Avo’s and each of the bands, and the big-hearted community of support that sprung up around Jason as word got out about his situation.

"These students have a lot to teach the rest of us. They made something extraordinary happen in the midst of such sadness, and they did it with great goodwill. Their work models the best of what any of us can achieve when resolve, effort and talent come together.”

The desire to support Bush throughout his treatment was also expressed through a benefit held in his home town of Alpine, Texas in October. Brunch for Bush raised more than $4,000 for the fund.

Website tells story, raises additional funds

A website has been created to spread Bush’s story and raise additional funds. The site provides visitors with a chance to read send personal messages to Bush, posts on the progress of his cancer treatment and learn more about upcoming fundraising events.

“The site has been a huge asset to the fundraising efforts because it allows people to connect from all around the United States and the world,” said McNamara.

Sarah Gianti, intern in CSU Department of Public relations, wrote this story

Contact: Kimberly Sorensen
Phone: (970) 491-0757