Sy’s Fund was established in memory of Silas “Sy” River Bennett, who was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer that had spread to his bones in October of 2007, just four days before his 29th birthday. Silas dealt with cancer as he lived his life; with his wry wit and determination intact. Silas passed away on May 27, 2008.
Before his diagnosis, Silas had returned to college to pursue a degree in journalism; he had truly found his calling in life. After finding out he had cancer, Silas took a leave from college. Shortly thereafter, he bought a quality SLR digital camera and began recording his life through photos. Photography became a constant positive during a time when much of what Sy was experiencing was beyond his control; it gave him something to look forward to. Silas recognized the need to sustain independence in his life, and to stay connected in ways that continued to give his life meaning that had nothing to do with cancer and everything to do with being a young adult full of hope and ideas. Silas continued photographing until two days before he passed away.
Shortly after Silas was diagnosed with cancer, he began receiving foot reflexology and reiki, a wonderful gift from a friend licensed to do these alternative therapies. Even during times when Silas was in too much pain to get out of bed, he was able to enjoy and benefit from these integrative therapies that reduced tension, promoted relaxation, and stress reduction.
Through the way in which he lived life after his cancer diagnosis, Sy taught those around him that in addition to medical care and personal support, young adults with cancer benefit from the ability to pursue something that brings personal happiness, helps retain independence and has nothing to do with illness. It makes perfect sense.