Student drops university course to help complete bucket list for dying friend

By Zoe Fripp

A 19-year-old Californian student has quit university to help his best friend complete his bucket list after a fatal cancer diagnosis.

Dillon Hill made this decision after his childhood best friend, Chris Betancourt was told by doctors his cancer had returned in September, after being diagnosed with leukemia in 2009. Mr. Betancourt was told by doctors his options were a Bone Marrow transplant, an experimental drug to delay the needed transplant for up to a year, or he could accept what was to come.

“Last month, my best friend called me and told me he was dying,” said Mr. Hill, as quoted by The Telegraph. “This time the cancer is a new mutated string that is resilient to most of the experimental drugs he had used before. This time, I don’t think he can overcome it.

“The cancer cells in his blood have jumped from .001% to 11%. Though difficult to acknowledge, Chris has one year to live.”

Mr. Hill said his friend was afraid that he will miss out on “everything he wants to experience in life”, leading the former student to make the decision to drop out of university to help his best friend achieve his bucket list.

For those that have not heard of the term, a ‘bucket list’ is a list of things that people want to do before they die. It was a concept made popular by the film The Bucket List, released in 2007, after two terminally ill patients meet in a hospital and go out into the world to achieve everything they want to do before they die.

Mr. Hill says his friend’s list includes helping a homeless person, climbing a mountain, appearing on television, breaking a world record, lifting weights with The Rock and shooting a rocket launcher in Las Vegas.

[Credit: ‘My Best Friend is Dying.’ page on Facebook]

The Facebook fundraising page, entitled ‘My Best Friend Is Dying.’, has generated some attention and, so far, $3,457 of the goal amount of $25,000 has been raised. The money raised will help cover the cost of Mr. Betancourt’s travel and medical fees, as he lost his job after his recent re-diagnosis.

After Mr Betancourt’s initial diagnosis, the students started their own charity, Gamers Gift, in their sophomore year of High School, around the age of 15, as a way to escape the realities of life and deal with their emotions through video games. Gamers Gift bring virtual reality through video games to people with disabilities, those in Children’s Hospitals, and those in Assisted Living Facilities so they can experience the world through these technologies.

“Any remaining funds will be donated to Gamers Gift to be combined with our current resources and host a bone marrow donation drive to try and find a match to help Chris with his diagnosis,” Mr Hill wrote on the Facebook page.

To donate money or find out more visit: https://www.facebook.com/donate/2050845275148218/

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Student drops university course to help complete bucket list for dying friend