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Entries in Miles Austrevich (2)

Thursday
Jan032013

Cancer Patient, Inspiration for Jokes4Miles, Dies at 20

Len Austrevich(CHICAGO) -- An inspirational campaign called Jokes4Miles, meant to make sick children laugh, was launched by a young man, Miles Austrevich, with the help of his father, Len.

Miles died on Dec. 23, 2012, after a four-year battle with a rare form of brain cancer, his family announced Wednesday. He was 20 and had lived in Chicago. He was described by his father as "one of the greatest warriors that had ever lived."

Unwavering in his resolve and touched by the public's support, Miles insisted that the campaign was important and should continue benefitting other cancer patients.

Created last year, Jokes4Miles collected jokes and well-wishes to lift Miles' spirits as he battled his disease. The response was overwhelming: In just a year more than 3,100 jokes from 192 cities, 44 states and eight countries were collected. The jokes came from all sorts of people, including kids at school Joke-a-Thons, others affected by cancer and even cast members from shows like Arrested Development, 30 Rock and Saturday Night Live.

"Miles was a huge hip-hop fan," Len Austrevich told ABC News. "Kanye West once spent hours with him and even put on a private concert."

Though he said he treasured all the support, Miles' favorite responses were from other kids.

"This kid did this entire rap about Miles. I think that really touched him – the kids impressed him as much as anything." Austrevich said.

Watch Miles' rap tribute


Miles was loved by his family, caretakers, colleagues and teachers, who said he transcended the differences between people and made genuine connections with them.

In addition to his love for music, Miles was passionate about photography, managing his first-ever trip to the Grand Canyon between stem-cell transplants last fall.

Watch Miles' Grand Canyon trip

Miles had been accepted to four Ivy League colleges and was enrolled at Yale, though he deferred because of his illness.

"He didn't want to be a doctor, he didn't want to be a physician," Austrevich said. "His interests were so wide he wanted to study anything."

Miles would say time and again how much the jokes meant to him, always floored that people cared about him in that way.

"If you don't meet them you can describe a person but, words just do not do it justice, it's this beaming positivity about him, he never complained, he was an inspiration," Austrevich said.

The Jokes4Miles campaign will continue, and by mid-January will have all 3,100 family-friendly jokes posted on the site for kids to view. Eventually, they would like to have tablets set to their homepage at Children's Hospitals worldwide, benefitting other cancer patients and their families with laughter, support and a sense of connectedness to others.

To find out more, please visit Jokes4Miles.com.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Apr252012

Jokes4Miles: Fighting Cancer with Humor 

ABC(CHICAGO) -- Miles Austrevich, 19, has been battling a rare form of brain cancer for over three years. He has undergone countless treatments and the cancer has returned four times. But with the help of his dad and people from all over the world, Miles has never lost his sense of humor.

Miles' father Len Austrevich, who is a comedian, created the website Jokes4Miles.com to help lift his son's spirits while Miles was fighting for his life.

Using the site, people from all over the world can send in videos telling jokes to help make Miles smile. And to Miles, it makes a world of difference.

"I think that having a good sense of humor is a really good way to cope and if you don't have that sense of humor then you're sort of stuck, almost in that sense that the cancer has won over you," Miles said. "Because if you can't have a sense of humor about it or enjoy other things, then the cancer's kind of taken over."

And for Miles, it's about more than the humor.

"People that I don't even know are sending me jokes. And the fact that there's so many people behind it who are rooting for me, that's really a big part of it too."

"Its not just the jokes, it's the whole community aspect of it," Len Austrevich said. "It's the good spirit that becomes a part of it. And then the byproduct, which is the jokes, cheers these guys up."

Austrevich created the website because he believes it's important to treat Miles' spirit, along with all of the medical care he's receiving.

"There is not much I can do, but I can use this almost as a tool or a medicine," Austrevich said. "It boosts his spirits, it gets you through it. So I think what I have learned is that it is a source of energy. It's a coping mechanism that helps you get the strength to deal with all the terrible stuff that you're doing. I physically see what it does to him."

Some submissions, like the video sent in by Sam and Alec from Lake Forest, Ill., are meant to make Miles laugh:

"What do you call a man with no arms and no legs in a leaf pile?" they asked. "Russell." "What do you call a man with no arms and no legs in the water? -- Bob." "What do you call a man with no arms and no legs riding a jet ski? -- Skip." "What do you call a man with no arms and no legs at your front door? -- Matt."

Others are inspirational:

"Knock, knock," said Chad from Los Angeles. "Who's there?" "You're rooting for" "You're rooting for who?" "You're rooting for Miles!"

And even those who don't have a joke to tell offer their support:

"Miles, our class is not the same without you," said Honglin, Fahad and Dan from Chicago. "We love you man."

The Austrevich family's goal is to receive 5,000 jokes and to use them to spread both laughter and awareness.

With over 500 submissions, they family is well on its way to reaching that goal.

"To know for kids that are fighting cancer, this is special for you this is something that a celebrity has done for you or a stranger or family or a clergy person or priest or rabbi or whoever, that we're doing this for you," Len said.

And for Miles, laughter truly is the best medicine.

"It's impossible to overdose on laughter," he joked. "It gives you power over your situation. If you can laugh about it, it makes it not so hard to go through."

To submit a joke for Miles, click here.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio