A Thank You from the Krivitski Family

Roxane and Victor M. Krivitski

To Colgate, an amazing community… Thank you, from Victor Krivitski’s parent

We wish to thank the entire Colgate community for everything you have done to help Victor and us, his parents, through this most difficult time. Our only son, Victor was diagnosed with a mediastinal germ cell tumor in December 2010.

He was just finishing up the fall term of his junior year at Colgate when he felt weak and was coughing up a little blood.

He was planning to go with his geology class to Chile to study volca­noes over Christmas break, but his roommate convinced him to visit the clinic before he went. Dr. Miller, Director of Student Health Services, ex­amined Victor and found that the routine chest x-ray and blood test results were consistent with cancer with extensive metastasis to the lungs. Needless to say, he did not go to Chile, but instead spent the next five months at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.

When conventional treatments failed, we sought alternative meth­ods with no success. This rare ag­gressive cancer took Victor’s life on August 22, 2011.

Victor’s fraternity brother Wil­liam Baker, Colgate ’70 and board chair, NYZ of Phi Delta Theta Foundation, has been an absolute angel to us. He has gone above and beyond being amazingly supportive. Day three of chemotherapy at Sloan- Kettering was Christmas Day 2010. Bill came up to Victor’s room at the hospital as a total surprise and of­fered his Manhattan apartment for Victor and his family and friends to use. Brother Baker quickly became Uncle Billy to Victor.

For the next five months, Bill’s apartment became a revolving door to the many friends and fam­ily members who came to visit. We are forever grateful to have had a home away from home and to be free of the stress of worrying about where to stay while Victor was getting treatments.

Rugby Coach Tim Burdick did many things to honor Victor. In the spring of 2011, the team played in a tournament in Phila­delphia. Their rugby shirts had stitched “Victor Krivitski Select Side.” Because there are 15 rugby players on a team and 15 letters in Victor’s name, Tim had each of those 15 letters printed on the back of 15 players, spelling out Victor’s name. Fortunately, Victor was feeling well enough to attend that match and be witness to Tim’s amazing show of support. After Victor died, Tim created the Victor Krivitski Family Fun Day at the rugby pitch on September 10 – the same day as the memorial in the Chapel. There was a barbeque and a bouncy house the whole afternoon.

Between the women’s and men’s games, Tim had a bagpiper, color guard, speakers and coin toss by Scott Brown, interim Dean. Tim presented us with an original water color of a rugby match with Colgate players and the campus in the background. This beautiful painting was done by Colgate alumni Don Rith ’56.

In addition, the matte framing the picture is signed by all the mem­bers of the rugby team. Tim’s many thoughtful gestures will always be remembered with great fondness.

And congratulations to the men’s rugby team who went undefeated and untied during the whole regular season – an unprecedented accomplishment! Good luck in the post season!

Rugby co-captain Marc Foto ’12 and his mom created maroon wrist­bands that everyone was wearing, printed with the day of Victor’s death and with the inscription “Try 4 Vic.” I came to learn that “try” is to rug­by as “touchdown” is to football. Four was Victor’s number. This play on words was a testament to how much Victor loved the sport, his teammates and how much Victor meant to Marc as well as the entire team.

In January, Mike Danahy ’11 was responsible for “Victorpalooza” which brought in over $1200 for Victor in his battle with cancer. No live band was needed nor could compete with the colorful songs that the attendees sang – Victor would have loved it. Another testament to the huge amount of love there is for Victor at Colgate.

Early in February, Vic’s undergraduate Phi Delt brothers shaved their heads in an incredible show of support. We have a framed picture with the inscription “One man is no man” – the fraternity motto – under the photo. In April, Mike Schon ‘12, Mark Janett ‘12, Zach Shutran ‘12, Isaac Lee ’13 and many others in the Phi Delta Theta fraternity organized a concert for the cure featuring The White Panda. The money raised helped Victor seek alternative treatments.

It was a lot of work to put on this event and not everything went as smoothly as planned. The hard work and perseverance in seeing it through is very much appreciated. Later in the spring while Victor was receiving treatments, Mark, Zach and Isaac came to Manhattan and pre­sented Vic a check with the proceeds and a framed poster signed by the band members.

Friend and rugby player, Matt Ford ‘12, wrote a heartfelt letter that prompted thousands of dollars in donations.

The original intent was for Victor to do one last road trip for fun, but he unfortunately wasn’t medically stable to travel.

We are not a family of means. Though we have great medical insur­ance, co-pays and incidentals have added up to a sizable amount. The generosity of classmates, the parents of classmates and virtual strangers en­abled us to be able to pay off most of Victor’s medical bills without leaving us with a financial burden.

Matt also raised more money for us during the Victor Krivitski Fam­ily Fun Day by selling hamburg­ers and hotdogs and later wrist bands that said “Be Victorious” to be used as entrance to a party later that evening.

University Chaplain, Mark Shiner, and Ann Zinmeister did an amaz­ing job in creating a very special memorial service on the evening of September 10.

There was standing room only at­tendance in the Chapel as the speak­ers did their eulogies and a cappella groups sang songs. The Phi Delta Theta fraternity closed the day by hosting a reception following the memorial service. They did a small but very touching ceremony of their own with the placing of evergreen twigs on a Bible saying, “Till death reunites us.”

Amy Leventer, Associate Professor of Geology, supplied video footage of a trip to Arizona which included wonderful memories of Victor. After the memorial service, Amy presented us with a very special compass engraved with Victor’s name. It will be treasured always.

Victor’s best friend, Mike Schon ’12, created a 45-minute long video/ slide show tribute to Victor, 10 minutes of which were played during the memorial service.

It was a tedious task, but in the end, very well done. I will cherish the memories it inspires as well as the people, especially Mike, who made Victor’s life so special.

It’s impossible to thank everyone who has shown their generosity in so many ways. I remember meeting countless people coming to visit Victor in the hospital and still others sending him packages and letters. This all meant a lot to Victor.

He was blown away by everyone’s show of support. I met even more people at the rugby pitch and the memorial service as they filed up to me to express their condolences and share their “Vic­tor” stories. Victor was only 21 years old when he died, but lived every day to the fullest. He was fiercely independent and full of boundless energy.

His life was cut short as he was about to step on the springboard to a life that was full of promise and purpose. Our profound sense of loss is indescribable, but we feel fortunate to have had him in our lives.

Know that we are also fortunate, as he was, to be surrounded by such amazing people. If you are reading this, then you are a part of the Colgate community. You are a part of something truly special and your unwavering support has helped us through this most difficult time. Thank you all.

Roxane and Victor M. Krivitski

[email protected]