Gracie, Lauren and Alpha Epsilon Phi
“The first time I met my sorority’s B+ Hero, Lauren, I walked into the hospital room where she was receiving chemo to treat her relapsed cancer. This adorable little girl in a pink pajama set was as excited to meet us as we were to meet her. Within minutes, we were playing catch, sharing a bag of Doritos (but only the red ones), and just bonding. Her giant smile and positive energy almost made me forget that she even had cancer. Right before we left, Lauren and I made matching friendship bracelets. We hugged goodbye and I was immediately attached to this little angel.
A few months back we hosted a birthday party for Lauren. Given the severity of Lauren’s illness, and knowing how special each milestone is, I really wanted to make sure it was absolutely perfect for her. When Lauren and I were on our way home after a fun-filled day, she began to retell the events of the day. She talked about how special it was for her to have her sisters there, to get to be on campus, and of course to play with LOL dolls. Halfway through the ride, with a smile on her face, and a belly filled with chocolate cake, she put her little hand on mine and fell asleep mid-sentence. It was in that tender moment that I was able to see the impact our sisterhood has on her, but also, the impact she was having on me. And how, in so many ways she is so different than a typical 5-year-old, but in others, she is exactly the same.
In such little time, Lauren has somehow managed to change my major, my perspective, my passion, and my life Both her positive spirit and her contagious energy shine so bright, you genuinely cannot help but smile when you’re around her. She is one special little girl, who has been unfairly chosen to be diagnosed with this horrific disease. Whether it be holding her hand in the hospital while she gets her port flushed (which she absolutely hates) or watching her survive another year on her 5th birthday as she blew out her candles, my sisters and I are always there to support her and make her life a little brighter in-between darkness. Being able to celebrate Lauren’s good days and support her in her bad days, has honestly been my favorite part of being in Alpha Epsilon Phi and I truly could not be more excited to watch her grow up.”
– Gracie and Lauren, New York University
Sam, Emily and Club Gymnastics
“This past year, the UD Gymnastics Club was given the honor of being paired with our B+ Hero, Emily! As the Team Rep, I knew it was my responsibility to make sure that our team not only formed a strong bond with Emily and her family but also that Emily and her family felt comfortable around us. But the more I got to know Emily, the more I realized her place on our team was never a question – she was meant to be a member of UD Club Gymnastics. She brings so much light, positivity, and courage to our team. Being able to meet Emily and spend time with her and her family has been the highlight of my senior year. Whether it was at the hospital where she made me Play-Doh soup while she received her chemo treatments, hearing Emily cheer my name from the stands before I got on (and quickly fell off) beam at one of our meets, and even dying my hair and dressing up as a troll with other girls on my team for Emily’s troll themed birthday party, we truly made some of the best memories. Since Emily came into our lives, our team has grown so much both in and outside of the gym. Our little family is the strongest it’s ever been thanks to her.
After graduation, I knew I wanted to stay in Emily’s life and after my mom met Emily and her family at @UDance 2019, so did she. We both were in the audience cheering Emily on at her first-ever dance recital, walked alongside her family and friends in the 13th Annual B+5K, and even sat with Emily and her mom in the hospital as Emily received one of her chemo treatments. I love that I’m able to support Emily both with my team and with my family because I truly see her as a member of both. I am so thankful to have Emily in my life and honored to be by her side as she wins a battle she never should have had to fight in the first place.”
–Sam and Emily, University of Delaware
Isa, Zoey and Delta Phi Epsilon
“From the moment I found out that a new B+ hero was joining Delta Phi Epsilon, I couldn’t wait to meet her. The first time I met Zoey was at an Italian restaurant for a sister event. She walked in wearing unicorn leggings and it showed just how big and beautiful of a personality she has. As she sat with all of us sisters eating pasta and warming up to such a large group, she owned the room. That day I knew I wanted to be involved in her life and later became my chapter’s B+ Hero Liaison. Since taking on this role, I’ve had the privilege of sharing so many great memories with her and her family.
Every time Zoey walks into a room, it lights up. Her stylish outfits and amazing dance moves are undeniable and she’s incredibly skilled at making DIY slime. It constantly amazes me how someone so young, who has gone through so much, has such a joyous and infectious attitude. Every time I see her, no matter how she is feeling, there is always a smile on her face. Every week when she goes to the clinic, I and another sister meet her to do crafts and take her mind off things for a little. Zoey always has the best ideas and teaches me much more than how to properly do crafts. Not only does she show me how to make a unicorn styled tote and the coolest dance moves to ‘Old Town Road,’ but she also teaches me how to look at life from a positive perspective and always smile no matter what. I feel so fortunate that The B+ Foundation and NYDM have given me the chance to not only call Zoey a sister, but also a lifelong best friend.”
–Isa and Zoey, New York University
Cali, Joshua and New York University
“I am beyond thankful for the incredible memories that The B+ Foundation has facilitated and the families that I have had the privilege of meeting through NYDM, but nothing can compare to the relationship that I have built with B+ Hero, Joshua. During a late Sunday night team captain meeting, it was announced that Joshua needed a tutor. Joshua and his loving father, Kenroy, came to America from Jamaica when he relapsed after beating leukemia a few years prior. Due to Joshua’s relapse, he was unable to attend school as a consequence of his rigorous treatment schedule and the exposure to germs. Being an Early Childhood Education major, I was more than eager to help out. When I tell you that I have never met a boy full of more love, excitement, and zest for life – I really mean it. Joshua would run across the room doing somersaults, dance moves, and yelling out math answers all at the same time. Each session was filled with determination, dedication, and laughter. Joshua radiates so much energy and light that it is impossible not to have the biggest smile when you are with him.
Since the second he came into my life, I have been filled with an extremely special kind of gratitude that can only come from being introduced to someone that makes you change the way that you view the world. Joshua fully gives himself to everything he takes part in. Whether it is beating me in tag, finishing his math problems before the timer goes off, or fighting cancer for the third time – I could not be more grateful to know him and the unparalleled strength that he has. Joshua has shown me how to make the most of every experience and I will always be thankful for the moments we have had and the memories that we continue to make. I cannot wait to keep cheering him on and to see the amazing things that he will do.”
– Cali and Joshua, New York University
Joshua passed away in September 2019 after three brave battles with cancer. He touched many lives including those of the Zeta Psi Chapter at New York University and many other students in the NYDM community.
Katie, Zoe, Chase and Pi Beta Phi
“The first time I met Zoe was at her sister Chase’s swim meet. Although she was nervous and too shy to talk at first, she giggled at all of my bad jokes. Eventually, she started to warm up and four hours later I found myself still hanging out with Zoe and her family, wondering where the time had gone. Since that day, I have taken every opportunity to spend time with Zoe and Chase. We always play games and have fun, but they also talk to me about their lives. It can be as silly as talking about the boys in their class or as serious as doctor’s appointments and the lasting effect of childhood cancer on their family. For the past year and a half, I have loved being the person that they can talk to about life’s big and small moments.
My relationship with Zoe and Chase has given me a new perspective on what’s really important. Last spring when I was preparing for the GRE, an important exam for graduate school admissions, I was naturally stressed. The morning of the exam, I received a FaceTime call from Zoe and Chase. Without thinking twice, I answered the call and talked with them for a few minutes. After the call I had a realization – I was taking all the opportunities I’ve had that brought me to the point of taking the GRE for granted. Many children don’t have the chance to grow up, let alone stress about a test like this, and I am so lucky to be exactly where I am in life.
Finally, Zoe and Chase have impacted my future career goals. Before meeting them, I knew that I wanted to be a physical therapist, but I didn’t realize how much I would love working with kids, especially kids with cancer. Zoe’s family showed me videos of her in physical therapy and I immediately knew that was something I wanted to do. When looking at graduate schools for PT, I couldn’t imagine being far away from the girls, so I made a pros and cons list for all of my schools. One of my pros for UD PT school was being able to be close to Zoe and Chase. Now, I am so thankful to say that I will be close to the girls for the next two and a half years because I couldn’t imagine them not being a part of my life. I am so grateful for UDance and The B+ Foundation for pairing my sorority with Zoe and Chase.
–Katie, Zoe & Chase, University of Delaware
Jack, Jace, Kevin and Fordham University
“As someone who had pediatric cancer, having the opportunity to spend time with other kids going through the same things I did was always something I wanted to do. Little did I know I would do more than just hang out with these kids, but instead be inspired by them in every way. Let me tell you about my buddy Jace, who recently turned 12. Maybe the most remarkable thing about him is just how ‘12’ he is. In other words, how normally he lives his life. He loves Fortnite—especially the dances—and winning any game you put in front of him. He’s also one of the best big brothers I know.
And then there’s 5-year-old Kevin, who will run you in circles until you fall over, and then make you get up and chase after him again (even in small clinics). ‘Speed Boy’ is a constant ball of positive energy. All the time I’ve spent with my friends Jace and Kevin are among the highlights of my college career. Both of them are true inspirations–going through treatments but continuing to live their lives like pretty much nothing is going on. Thank you to The B+ Foundation for bringing us together!”
–Jack, Kevin & Jace, Fordham University
Emily, Addie and Alpha Gamma Delta
“I met Addie and her sisters, Lainey and Lyla, two years ago at an ice cream shop right off of my college campus. I had just started in my role on The B+ Foundation at Alabama’s executive board, and I had advocated strongly for my sorority, Alpha Gamma Delta, to be paired with a B+ Hero. I underestimated the impact that Addie and her entire family would have on my sorority sisters and, especially, the impact that she would have on me. • I have dreamed of becoming a physician for as long as I can remember. I knew that my coursework would be challenging, but I hoped that I was up for the challenge.
During my sophomore year of college, my pre-medical courses got significantly more difficult, and I began to question whether or not I was cut out to pursue medical school. I didn’t think I was strong enough to make it through, and I was in desperate need of a refresher on why I was working so hard to achieve my goals. When I was feeling lost and unsure about the path I was on, Addie completed her final treatment for the Pre B-Cell ALL she was diagnosed with when she was only 4 years old. I remember thinking, ‘I can’t believe a four-year-old could go through everything that Addie has been through and still have a smile on her face.’ Addie is joyful, kind, funny, and smart, and she is the strongest person I know. She truly is my hero. I will forever be so thankful to The B+ Foundation for introducing Addie and her family to me and my sorority.”
–Emily & Addie, University of Alabama
Dallas, Christian and Zeta Beta Tau
“Christian was a Star Wars aficionado, with sitting LEGO skills. We were dorky college students. Do the math. We clicked right away. The first time we met Christian we played games in the park. He didn’t bemoan his illness or complain, he played hard. I’m talking Ninja, duck duck goose, and frisbee, an elementary school triathlon. We had a great time and it was the beginning of one of my most valuable friendships. Whenever our schedules would allow, we would make time to visit with Christian. Despite being there to make his day a little brighter, he always managed to be the highlight of my day. We were treated like family by him and his mother. Christian is a real-life hero. Even braver and more inspiring than the heroes in the movies he adored. Christian had the kind of courageous, fun-loving and generous personality that made you forget you were in a hospital.”
–Dallas & Christian, New York University
Christian passed away December 2nd, 2013 after bravely battling Neuroblastoma for five years. He touched many lives including those of the ZBT Gamma Chapter at NYU, who truly embraced him as a brother.
Katie, Victoria and Sigma Kappa
“My sophomore year of college, I was lucky enough to meet my #1 girl and my sorority’s B+ Hero, Victoria. Little did I know that this would come to be one of the most sincere and lasting friendships Sigma Kappa would give me over my years as a sister. Victoria and I spent so much time together that Victoria and her family eventually came to take me in as one of their own. I can still remember one of the first times I went over to her house to bake cookies and play board games. I was one of the first girls there and instantly, Victoria lit up like we had known each other our whole lives. If you are lucky enough to know her and spend time with her, you know she has an instant love for everyone. In a moment, you feel as if you’ve become one of her best friends and, in my case, a sister for life. From laughing and singing to swimming or even losing to Victoria in whatever game we are playing that day, our time together is always special. I always look forward to visiting and catching up with her and talking about our futures. My favorite part is knowing that she will always be part of mine and I hers.
Victoria battles her cancer with such grace and spirit. She never lets anything stop her from living her dreams and life to the absolute fullest. Simply from just knowing her, being her friend and sister, I have learned and grown so much. Victoria and her family are so loving and I cannot thank UD Sigma Kappa and B+ for bringing us together. The relationship I have with her is truly a blessing and I will be on #TeamVictoria for life.”
–Katie & Victoria, University of Delaware
Jack, Nicholas and Sigma Pi
“I had the opportunity to meet Nicholas at the end of my sophomore year of college. Some of my Sigma Pi brothers and I took Nicholas to an Alabama Baseball game. He loves basketball, playing video games, and his favorite time in school is when he can go to the gym to play basketball. Nicholas was diagnosed with Leukemia in 2012 and has been in remission for a couple of years now. Despite everything he’s been through, he is one of the most positive and upbeat people I know. I always enjoy hearing about his day and what he did at school. He always lets me know that he is staying on top of his school work and is getting As in all of his classes. Whenever we have him over to the fraternity house, he is surrounded by a group of guys that truly love and look forward to hanging out with him. Last year, we gave Nicholas a bid and he is now a true brother of the Sigma Pi Fraternity.
Without my involvement with The B+ Foundation at Alabama, I would have never met this incredible, intelligent, and downright hilarious young man. Anyone who’s met Nicholas knows that he has the unique ability to always put a smile on your face and makes a lasting impression on every person he interacts with. While I always find myself trying to teach Nicholas things, he ends up teaching me so much more than he will ever realize. His attitude is always positive and the impact he has made on my life will last forever.”
–Jack & Nicholas, The University of Alabama
Molly, Mahlai and Alpha Sigma Tau
“When I walked in the hospital with some of my sorority sisters to meet Mahlai for the first time two years ago, the nurse said, “Mahlai, your friends are here to see you!” and Mahlai replied, ‘They’re not my friends…they’re my sisters.’ I immediately knew that I was in for something special.
Mahlai is a hilarious, loving, strong and unstoppable young girl. She radiates positivity and has a spirit that brightens a room. I’m always looking forward to the next time I see her, because I know we’re going to be playing and laughing all the way up until we have to go; and even then, it’ll be a long goodbye with lots of hugs. It has been the honor of my lifetime to watch her transition from treatment to maintenance, gain weight back, grow her hair out, and most importantly, continue to grow up. Her family, especially her grandmother and mother, have graciously welcomed us into their lives to share birthdays, holidays and even Kindergarten graduations. Mahlai always has been, and always will be a sister to me. It’s safe to say that having Mahlai as a sister has put life in a new perspective for me and many other students.”
–Molly and Mahlai, New York University
Colton, Karter and IFC
“Karter battled cancer for three years. So no, he isn’t afraid of monsters under the bed. Other than that? Totally normal 6 year old. Likes LEGOs, hide and seek, dinosaurs, baseball – the works.
Our friendship began on the diamond nearly three years ago, when a group of us from IFC (Karter’s entourage) attended his t-ball game one evening. Karter played hard and focused from start to finish – a triumph of will for any 5-year old, but especially for him considering the physical and mental toll of chemotherapy. Needless to say, the entourage was warranted.
On one special occasion, Karter had the chance to play with his favorite team, the Texas Longhorns. We coordinated a surprise visit to his house after a rough hospital stay. He had no idea what was happening when his mom asked him to answer the door. You can imagine his reaction when he saw the team standing outside. They played sandlot baseball and make believe. Karter, the obvious ringleader of the team, directed them to act like ballerinas and wild animals. It was awesome.
Karter had his last chemotherapy treatment on June 3, 2017. He’s now cancer-free, and I’m grateful to continue being a part of his life.”
–Colton & Karter, The University of Texas at Austin
Sam, Aryn and Kappa Alpha Theta
“Ten years ago I met Aryn and her family. Simply put – they changed my life forever. I was a freshman in college, had just joined a sorority and was looking for a way to get more involved and UDance was the answer. Although it was devastating to talk to her family about all she had been through, I was so inspired to see her having the time of her life with her ‘sisters’ as if a world with cancer didn’t exist.
Ten years later our friendship and sisterhood, remains strong – stronger than ever. Summer 2015, I was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor called an Astrocytoma. Just like that our roles had reversed. Aryn had defeated cancer and now it was my turn. Inspired by everyone involved with The B+ Foundation, especially, Aryn, cancer was not a sentence it was a just a word. When the cancer came back two summers later, Aryn and her family were there for me. I could feel the love and strength across state lines.
Aryn is my hero, always has been, always will be. I’m am so thankful for The B+ Foundation for it gave me Aryn, and her family. I am so proud to call Aryn a survivor, a friend and a sister. Together, we are going to continue to fight for a world where cancer doesn’t exist.”
–Sam & Aryn, University of Delaware
Sam passed away on October 13, 2018 after bravely battling an inoperable brain tumor for three years. She touched the lives of many, especially her little sister and B+ Hero, Aryn.
Frankie, James and Sigma Alpha Epsilon
“James ‘THE DUDE’ is the type of kid that walks in the room and no matter what mood you’re in, you can’t help but smile. This 7-year-old warrior is not only a two-time AML cancer survivor, but he is also the head of his very own LEGO construction company! The first day I was blessed to meet James was December 3, 2017 – a day I will never forget, and one that changed my life. Right off the bat, James and I clicked and, despite him being on the autism spectrum, the connection between us was undeniable. I remember that day we played with toy trucks and basically just hung out as we got to know one another.
Since then, our relationship has only grown stronger. We’ve been together for hospital visits followed up by trips to McDonald’s and SkyZone trampoline park to jump around for a few hours. My favorite time with James was definitely his first UDance in March of 2018. This was a huge step because it was his first time in such a large crowd and also his first time meeting all his Sigma Alpha Epsilon brothers. James loved all the positive energy and had an awesome time!
My relationship with James goes deeper than just him being my B+ Hero. He’s become an inspiration and my motivation. I hope I have taught James some valuable lessons but I know for a fact he has taught me to live in the moment and persevere. When I’m with him and his family, nothing else matters. It has been by far the most rewarding and humbling experience from my time at The University of Delaware and I know it doesn’t end when I graduate because James has become the little brother that I never had.”
–Frankie & James, University of Delaware
Alexa, Gabrielle and Alpha Epsilon Phi
“When I first met Gabby she had just been declared cancer free. My older sorority sisters described this then 7-year-old girl as larger than life in both strength and attitude. I could have never imagined the impact she would have on my life, but five years and many memories later, having Gabby as my little sister continues to be something very special and important to me.
One of my favorite memories with Gabby happened just after she was diagnosed with cancer for the second time. The sorority and I arranged a bus to bring all of us to her town to attend a fundraiser they were putting on for her, which included Gabby being driven through the town in a parade as part of her grand entrance. When Gabby got to the end of the parade she refused to get out of the car but asked for me to come sit in it with her–I could tell she was feeling a bit nervous. For the next ten minutes, Gabby and I laughed together in the car until she built up the courage to step out and greet the entire town after reminding her that all of her sorority sisters were waiting for her just on the other side of the car door. That day reminded me exactly the point of the dual relationship that occurs through The B+ Heroes program.”
–Alexa & Gabrielle, New York University
Jaclyn, Aniya and Fordham University
“Aniya is nine years old and was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2016 when she was seven. I was introduced to her in December of 2016 and she has become one of my best friends. She loves to play with Barbie dolls, especially the Disney princesses and playing dress up. My favorite memories with Aniya are when she steals her Mom’s phone and FaceTimes me just to say hi and see how a college class is. She has a wicked sense of humor and is one of the funniest, sassiest nine-year-olds I know. I am so happy I got to meet her through The B+ Foundation at Fordham.”
–Jaclyn & Aniya, Fordham University
Kiersten, Ava Kate and Kappa Alpha Theta
“Never in my college years did I think that one of the best, lifelong friends I’d make would be an 8-year-old girl. Ava Kate, AK for short, stole my heart 3 years ago from the moment I met her and we shared the same love of manicures, oversized t-shirts, Nike shorts, and last but not least, Taco Casa. I think at first I took her by surprise because she was so shy and I couldn’t keep quiet, but I knew if I kept talking, maybe she’d open up. Boy did she open up! Now when I see AK, we walk hand in hand and talk about squishy toys, school, and what nail art we want to get matching next. The day AK’s scans came back clear of cancer will undoubtedly be one of the best days of my life, and I know that even though we live miles and miles apart, distance has nothing on our friendship. She is what keeps me going when life feels too hard, a workout too rough, or day not bright enough. She is the sunshine to my day and the smile I always look forward to seeing. Thank you The B+ Foundation for bringing us together!”
–Kiersten & Ava Kate, The University of Alabama
Stacey, Miranda and Sigma Kappa
“When I was a sophomore in college, I was introduced to a rambunctious, outgoing, sassy, beautiful girl by the name of Miranda. Between serving on the UDance Executive Board and my involvement with Sigma Kappa, Miranda and I spent a lot of time together and our relationship turned into something more special than I could have ever imagined. She was not just Sigma Kappa’s B+ Hero anymore—she was my hero, my sister, and my friend. While her chances of survival were bleak, she lived every day in that hospital as if she was a normal, college-bound, 18-year-old girl. For most of this year, I spent weeknights and weekends sitting at the end of Miranda’s hospital bed. We read books, watched movies, sang songs, and gossiped. As Miranda’s diagnosis got worse and her body got weaker, those movies and songs turned into moments of silence and hand-holding, but it never deterred me from visiting her. With her family so far away, I knew that I needed to be there as a source of warmth and love to help her during her last few months and weeks on this earth. Losing Miranda was something that I never thought I would experience in my entire lifetime. Though she lost her life to cancer, she won over the hearts of every person she encountered. Miranda was, and always will be, an example of what bravery, strength, and unrelenting happiness is. I am a braver, stronger, happier, and more resilient person because of this beautiful 18-year-old girl.”
–Stacey & Miranda, University of Delaware
Miranda passed away in 2014 after a brave battle with osteosarcoma. She touched many lives including those of the Sigma Kappa Theta Delta Chapter at University of Delaware, who truly embraced her as a sister.