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When their friend Mike Egan was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Dennis McKeever ’97, Evan Berger ’98, Jonathan Levy ’98, Gregory Smith ’98, Brian Cort ’99, and Ilya Fishman ’99 formed Team Moose Nuggets to support his fight against cancer by raising money for research.

“When we discovered Mike’s illness, there was a feeling of helplessness that intruded on us,” says McKeever. “You can’t help it. Talking to him and hanging out wasn’t enough for us. We had to go to the next level.”

The group of tight-knit friends participates in sporting events and other activities to raise money for the Lance Armstrong Foundation (LAF). Avid athletes, their admiration for the seven-time Tour de France winner led them to partner with LAF. Egan is a triathlete and learned of his diagnosis after qualifying for the prestigious Escape from Alcatraz event.

“We believe that Mike is a perfect fit with LAF because he has competed in three Ironman triathlons, all while being treated for cancer,” McKeever says. “He is the poster child for LAF’s motto, ‘Live strong.’”

The friends exceeded their LAF fundraising goal of $30,000, allowing them to ride with Armstrong in October at the annual Ride for the Roses in Austin, Texas. Berger and McKeever participated in the event. Team Moose Nuggets donated its extra funds to help 14-year-old cancer patient Catie Summers reach her class’ fundraising goal so that she, too, could attend Ride for the Roses.

Bonds formed while the Moose Nuggets were teammates on the swim team at Lafayette have helped strengthen their commitment to supporting their friend. James L. Dailey, head swimming coach, encouraged the Lafayette community to get involved in their fundraising efforts.

“Because of him, we have seen support from not only our classmates, but also alumni who attended Lafayette during World War II,” McKeever says. “It catches your breath. We are so thankful to the Lafayette community. I think the fact that our group has been close friends for this long after college is a testament to Lafayette and the close relationships that form while you’re in college.”

Categorized in: Alumni Profiles