Late West Virginia University graduate Brent P. Evans threw caution to the wind after his initial battle with blood cancer, launching a winter sports and music festival that has raised close to $1 million over the past decade for cancer research and patient care.
Following Evans’ passing in 2017, his friends established the Live Like Brent Foundation to carry on his memory and continue his work to fight cancer. Now, the Pennsylvania-based organization is partnering with the WVU Cancer Institute and WVU Athletics for a football fundraiser leading up to WVU’s Sept. 10 matchup with the University of Kansas.
For $120, supporters get a premium lower-level seat for the Kansas game and access to a pre-game Live Like Brent Foundation tailgate party, which includes drinks, food, games, and more. Supporters also have the option to purchase a tailgate ticket only, a game ticket only, or an official tailgate T-shirt.
The Live Like Brent Foundation will provide a portion of the proceeds to the WVU Cancer Institute to assist patients with financial needs.
“We are excited to partner with the Live Like Brent Foundation to offer additional financial assistance for patients at the WVU Cancer Institute,” Hannah Hazard-Jenkins, M.D., director of the WVU Cancer Institute, Jean and Laurence DeLynn Chair of Oncology, and associate professor of surgery at the WVU School of Medicine, said. “A cancer diagnosis is incredibly challenging, even under the best of circumstances. Many people struggle with the financial burden that comes with cancer treatment, and we are grateful to have a variety of resources available to offer hope and support to our patients, so they can focus on their recovery first.”
The Live Like Brent Foundation is an extension of Carve 4 Cancer, a nonprofit organization Evans formed as his winter sports and music festival of the same name achieved success. He came up with the idea for the event while undergoing treatment for stage IV non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma at Jefferson Health’s Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center in Philadelphia, where he connected with a fellow snowboarder.
Josh Frank, a friend who now serves as president of the Live Like Brent Foundation, said Evans had a magnetic personality that helped him build strong friendships and bring people together. A native of northeastern Pennsylvania, Evans moved to Philadelphia for work after earning a bachelor’s degree in political science from WVU’s Eberly College of Arts and Sciences.
Since Evans’ passing, his family and friends have partnered with a growing network of cancer care providers to offer financial assistance to patients through the Live Like Brent Foundation, which hosts 5K races, golf outings, and other charity events.
“Brent was lucky enough to have an amazing community around him, but not everyone is that lucky,” Frank said. “Brent would have wanted to find a way to help everybody fight cancer the way he fought it. Our motto at the Live Like Brent Foundation is ‘fight cancer like a legend.’ Brent was a legend to us, and he fought cancer like a champion. He was positive every day. He approached that battle like he approached life. It was with vigor, dignity, and a lot of hope, and we want to give that gift to everyone else.”
The annual tailgate was organized by friends five years ago to honor Evans’ cancer battle and love for WVU football games. This year’s event marks the Live Like Brent Foundation’s first partnership with the WVU Cancer Institute. Frank said family and friends ultimately plan to establish a memorial endowment in Evans’ name to aid patients at the WVU Cancer Institute.
To learn more about the tailgate event and/or purchase tickets, visit the Live Like Brent Foundation’s secure dedicated webpage.
All gifts to the WVU Cancer Institute are made through the WVU Foundation, the nonprofit organization that receives and administers private donations on behalf of the University.