The Varing Classic is a family-run charity event founded by Tyler Varing and Bryson Berryman. We play an annual basketball tournament to raise money for City of Hope, a cancer hospital located in Duarte, California.
Tyler Varing, my best friend and cousin, was diagnosed with mixed germ cell cancer in the spring of 2007. Tyler, all of 15 years old, was heading into spring break of only his sophomore year of high school. Tyler was scared, and the rest of us were devastated. After hearing the shocking news, our family did our due diligence as it related to finding Tyler the best care possible. We chose City of Hope.
From jump street, our family did things whacky - because hey - that’s our family. During chemo sessions we held hands in a circle to create weird happy thoughts, we watched an obscene amount of Law and Order, we joked around with medical equipment (me mostly). We basically did anything humanly possible to try to convince both Tyler and our family, that our humor, love, laughter and power of thought would propel us through those tough times. Our family quickly broadened past our room and into the entire pediatric floor. Both the doctors and nurses at City of Hope quickly became the most important people in not only Tyler’s life, but our entire family’s lives. Our time at City of Hope became about trying to extend our family’s weird traditions and nuances into the people that surrounded us almost every day. We did our best to cling onto the positive days and throw away the bad.
To be frank, however, in the middle of chemo treatments, surgeries, blood transfusions, there is not always room to crack a joke (hard as I tried). Some days were just hard. But I can say without a doubt, that all of us, could not have gotten through it without the wonderful people at City of Hope. The doctors, nurses and entire staff at City of Hope saved my best friend’s life and the least I can do is help in the small way that I can to repay that debt.
For the many that have fought, for the many that are fighting and the many who will fight…
We hold The Varing Classic.