In the days after losing his mother, Misty, to breast cancer, 16-year-old Lucas Bytnar wanted to do something to honor her legacy and raise money for research. The long-time gamer set up a Tiltify fundraising page and logged into Twitch to host his first-ever charity stream. He selected BCRF as the benefitting nonprofit and set a fundraising goal of $100. His family had asked for donations to the Foundation in lieu of flowers at Misty’s funeral days prior.
“I can’t begin to tell anyone who didn’t know Misty, my mom, how important she was not just to me, but to everyone who not only knew her as family, but as a friend, a coworker, a sister, a BFF, a classmate, or anything in between,” he shared on his Twitch page, along with Misty’s picture. “She was not only strong, and the one who told you how it was, but she loved so much and was so smart.”
After setting everything up, Lucas set a modest goal and let his dad, Tim, know about his plans.
“When he told me he wanted to stream for BCRF, I told him that was awesome—and that I was really proud of him,” Tim said.
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Tim and Lucas’ sister, Sophie, watched Lucas top $50 the first day and $100 the next. At that point, everyone in their extended family was watching and sharing links to the stream.
On the quiet Friday afternoon that followed, Lucas logged in to start streaming to a couple viewers and a friend. While taking a break to send a text, he looked up and saw the chat on his page was suddenly flooded with thousands of viewers. Lucas had no idea what was happening until Dr. Lupo, a hugely popular Twitch streamer and YouTuber, appeared on his screen. After making a $5,000 donation himself as part of Tiltify’s “Claus My Cause” initiative, Dr. Lupo rallied his fan base who, despite not knowing Lucas, generously donated and sent kind messages of support. Lucas finished his charity stream having raised $12,000 for lifesaving research.
“I’m still in awe,” Lucas said. “I’ve been watching YouTube and streams all my life. I’ve seen the Call of Duty community fundraise millions of dollars every year—and I wanted to be part of something like that so bad. And now this happened.”
Reflecting on the incredible success of Lucas’ stream, Tim noted that the experience ended up being very meaningful for his family during an impossibly difficult time.
“We went from this hardship to a really high moment in just a few days,” he said. “Our family really needed that.”
Misty was in treatment for breast cancer for eight years—a time during which she earned her PhD and became a pharmacist—and was a BRCA2 gene mutation carrier. For the Bytnars, supporting research into this disease is critical.
“Given that Misty’s cancer was hereditary, I have concerns for Lucas and Sophie and their [future] kids—so we have to find a cure for this disease,” said Tim, who originally learned about BCRF via its partnership with Blizzard Entertainment and bought the Pink Mercy Overwatch skin. “When I saw how much money goes into research, I trusted BCRF immediately.”
The success of his fundraiser is still surreal for Lucas a month later.
“I don’t know how to describe hearing I raised $12,000—it’s amazing,” he said.
Lucas hopes to stream for BCRF again this December.
Learn more about how you can game for BCRF here or start your own charity stream here. Read more stories about gamers who streamed for BCRF here.
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