Teen drops out of college to help best friend with terminal diagnosis complete bucket list
Ben Cousins, CTVNews.ca Staff
Published Thursday, December 7, 2017 12:41PM EST
A California teenager has dropped out of college to help his friend, who’s battling terminal cancer, complete an epic bucket list of things they’d always wanted to do together.
Chris Betancourt, 20, was diagnosed with leukemia in 2009, when he was in Grade 5. During his first two months in hospital, Betancourt spent virtually every day playing video games from his hospital bed, alongside his best friend Dillon Hill, now 19.
While never fully cured of the disease, Betancourt was able to manage the diagnosis for much of his teenage years and was able to graduate from high school.
While still in high school, the pair founded Gamers Gift, a non-profit organization designed to provide video games to people going through long hospital stays. The idea for the organization came about due to their own experiences playing video games in the hospital back in 2009.
Recently, doctors told Betancourt the cancer is back, and he’s likely die within two years unless he finds a bone marrow transplant match.
While they search for a match, Hill has dropped out of college to help his best friend complete a bucket list of things they had always wanted to do together.
“It meant a lot, more than I’m pretty sure he knows,” Betancourt told CTV News Channel from Sacramento, Calif., referring to his friend’s decision to leave school. “He was in the hospital every single day as a kid in fifth grade when we were going through it.”
The list includes anything from “Break a World Record” to “Find love before I die.” The 14th item on the list is “Lift weights with The Rock,” which Betancourt says is actually not far from becoming a reality.
“We have some people in contact and we’re hoping to make it a dream soon,” he said.
They are mostly relying on donations and crowdfunding campaigns to pay for their experiences, but have also had people reach out to them personally to offer up a way to help.
They are currently raising money to complete #38 on the list: “Road Trip!”
“Everyone is rallying around to help and support us and it’s absolutely wild just to see the massive amount of people who want to help us out with this journey,” Betancourt said.
Betancourt said, so far, the highlight has been feeding a group of homeless people. Around American Thanksgiving, the pair bought 150 hamburgers from a local fast food restaurant and gave them out to the homeless.
The move knocked two items off the list: “Go around and give homeless people food and water” and “Order 100 of an item from a fast food place.”
On Thanksgiving morning we were able to cross 23, 45, and 53 off our list! We donated food to the homeless and ordered a 100 of an item at a fast food restaurant. We also met a fellow reddit user. We hope everyone had an amazing Thanksgiving. Video coming out soon pic.twitter.com/XCFvWqeZss— My Best Friend (@onelistonelife) November 28, 2017