Jokes4Miles: Fighting Cancer With Humor

PHOTO: Nineteen-year-old Miles Austrevich has been battling a rare form of brain cancer for over three years.
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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, please visit http://jokes4miles.com/sendjokes.htm

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