This fall, I will be joining thousands of people nationwide to run in the 2018 New York City Marathon. I am doing this to raise funds for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) in memory of my very dear friend and Kappa Sigma Fraternity brother Alex McIlvaine who who died December 24th at age 22. He was a senior at Duke University.
These past few months, feelings of confusion, sadness, denial, and shock have overwhelmed me. I know that I share these emotions with anyone who has had the privilege of knowing Alex McIlvaine. To this day, even though almost 10 months have gone by, I still find myself in utter disbelief. Alex and I go back 4 years and all over the country from North Carolina to California, New York City to Puerto Rico. No matter where we were, our adventures and the memories we made have been nothing but positive. I remember the first time I met Alex; he had that “goof-ball” smile and a deep kind of laughter that so many of us found endearing and amusing. After an hour-long dinner, I knew I had found a new friend and a “little" brother. Little did I know then how close we would become over the years. Together we attended fraternity functions, debutante balls, and many parties. Alex accompanied me to my cancer treatments at Duke. We shared locations on the app “Find My Friends” and even though it's now gone, that blue dot is etched in my memory. We spoke on Facetime about the upcoming semester only a few days before he passed.
Alex was everything I could’ve asked for in a friend. He was caring, consistent, reliable and steady. He never failed to exhibit positivity, genuine kindness and compassion for others. No matter what mood I was in, he’d smile, laugh and find a way for me to see the bright side and the bigger picture; it was all going to be okay, no matter the situation. Very few men our age were more authentic, energetic, and filled with a great sense of humor than Alex. One of my favorite memories with Alex was when he got an internship at FOX Sports in Los Angeles that summer. I picked him up from the airport and we went on a drive along Pacific Coast Highway. I took him to a common viewpoint along the coast. He was as happy as can be, talking about the potential he saw for himself in the world of sports. I remember him saying that one day we would rule Los Angeles together. Although he was realistic and didn’t lie to himself about who he was, he radiated enthusiasm, determination and ambition. He also saw the best in others, even when they didn’t see it in themselves.
McIlvaine was beloved by his family, friends and fraternity brothers, for which he served as our rush chair for several years. All who knew him would say that he was always willing to help lift others up in times of adversity and make people feel included.
I hope you will consider supporting my participation in the New York City Marathon and the AFSP.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention has announced its next phase of Project 2025, which is an AFSP initiative to reduce the suicide rate by 20% by 2025. For more information on National Suicide Prevention Week, and to learn more about AFSP, please visit www.afsp.org/nsp.
Let’s Save Lives and Bring Hope to Those Affected by Suicide.
Here's to you Alex McIlvaine. Thank you for the time you spent with me during my treatments. Thank you for holding me up when Duke didn’t. Thank you for consistently reminding me to be present. Thank you for showing me that the best was yet to come. Thank you for being my friend, my little brother, my family. I’ll never forget all the ways you brought happiness into my life, and I know anyone who had the chance to get to know you shares that feeling. You’ll live on Mac, through everyone you’ve inspired and loved with such selflessness and grace.
Today, I remember you.
Everyday I think of you.
On November 4th, 2018: I will run the New York City Marathon in your honor.
Rest Easy. I love you.