Cancer Patient, Inspiration for Jokes4Miles, Dies at 20

PHOTO: Miles Austrevich
Share
Copy

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 today. 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 ABCNews.com. "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

Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...
See It, Share It
PHOTO: Oscar de la Renta and Oprah Winfrey attend the Costume Institute Gala Benefit to celebrate the opening of the American Woman: Fashioning a National Identity exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, May 8, 2010, in New York City.
Rabbani and Solimene Photography/WireImage/Getty Images
PHOTO: Up in Ash: Mount Sinabung Erupting
Tibt Nangin/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
PHOTO: Firefighters rescue a woman who got stuck in a chimney in Thousand Oaks, Calif.
Ventura County Fire Department
PHOTO: Apple Pay is demonstrated at Apple headquarters on Oct. 16, 2014 in Cupertino, Calif.
Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP Photo