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Students raise funds in honor of former fraternity brother

POSTED AT 12:02 AM ON Nov. 14, 2013  (UPDATED AT 04:40 PM ON Nov. 19, 2013)

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Tough times don’t last. Tough people do.

This is the motto that juniors Logan Weisberg and Chad Silver have abided by in their efforts to raise money for the Lymphoma Research Foundation.

In the past two weeks, the two IU students, with the help of various family members and friends, have raised about $50,000.

Weisberg and Silver created the fundraiser because of their friend and fellow former Zeta Beta Tau fraternity brother, junior Brian Levitas.

Two weeks ago, Levitas revealed to them he was diagnosed with lymphoma, a type of blood cancer that causes white blood cells to divide faster than normal cells.

Through Crowdrise — an online fundraising site — friends, family members, and fellow and former ZBT brothers have donated money.

The event, called “Zeta Brian Tau,” is essentially a “No Shave November” fundraiser.

The participants ask for donations to the website account. The donors can either donate to a specific team or form their own team.

Pictures of the participants’ “No Shave” progress can be found on their Shutterfly accounts.

The participants will stop growing their facial hair Nov. 30.

“Our first goal was $500,” Weisberg said. “Although it wasn’t about the money. For us, we just wanted to have Brian’s name out there, knowing there were people supporting him.”

Weisberg said he is amazed at the support friends and family have shown.

“This really shows what kind of person he is,” Weisberg said. “So many people are willing to support him. What we’ve seen so far is amazing.”

Weisberg has been friends with Levitas since their freshman year.

This is the first time he has dealt with one of his close friends being diagnosed with a serious disease.

Levitas declined to comment about the situation.

Weisberg said he hopes the fundraiser will help keep Levitas’ mind off the challenges he’s facing. 

“Having someone in your life that means so much to you ... few have that one person they would drop everything for,” Weisberg said. “This could change a person’s life.”

Silver also talked about another charity event that launched Wednesday.

He and Weisberg designed Lymphoma awareness shirts that will not only be sold at IU but also at universities in Illinois, Texas, Kansas, Michigan and Wisconsin.

The long-sleeve shirts will be lime green, the color of Lymphoma awareness, with “Team Zeta Brian Tau” on the front.

The shirts are available for purchase at zetabriantau.com. Silver and Weisberg will distribute them on campus.

The website will also have updated information on upcoming fundraisers and Levitas’ condition.

The proceeds will go to the Chicago branch of Children’s Oncology Service, which provides camp experiences and other programs for children suffering from cancer.

“We chose this organization because they believe that half the battle is mental,” Silver said. “They support the mental side of cancer through programs, camps and sessions. We wanted to raise the money for them.”

Part of the reason a children’s organization was chosen is because Levitas decided to take the pediatric treatment for his condition, as opposed to the treatment for adults, Silver said.

Levitas was given the option to choose between the two, and he chose pediatrics because the treatment is more immediate, Silver said.

Silver said he is thankful for the vast support network that has been apparent in this fundraising process.

“We had no idea of the power of the people that care about Brian,” Silver said. “I could never expect that, but if it puts a smile on his face and his family’s face, we’re one step closer to reaching our goal.”

Silver said the support he has seen for Levitas has been vast, and it has sparked involvement in multiple states.

“If there’s one person in the world that can get through this, it’s Brian,” Silver said. “There’s no doubt in my mind.”

Follow reporter Tori Lawhorn on Twitter @ToriLawhorn.

 

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