← Back to portfolio
Funeral home director battles cancer, sets up foundation
Kansas funeral home director with cancer sets up memorial foundation
Bryce Day has comforted families who have lost a loved one for about four decades. He wants to make sure that continues after he is gone. He has what doctors say is terminal pancreas cancer, and last fall they told him he had six months to live. He hope they are wrong, and is still fighting the illness as much as possible, and is remaining as positive as he can.
He grew up and lived in Wellington, Kansas for many years, and has been in the funeral business for about 40 years.
He started the Bryce Day Memorial Foundation late last year, and just recently launched a website to help families in need when they have to bury a loved one. http://www.brycedaymemorialfoundation.com/
Day said he has been pleasantly surprised at the generosity of people. Already $16,000 has been donated to the cause. They are also giving aid already as well.
He wanted to make it simple, so people who have to pay for a funeral can apply for aid by just filling out a short form on the website, or by calling the foundation.
Day started the Day Funeral Home in 1998, and sold it to Tytus Cornejo a couple of years ago. Day started working at a funeral home while still in high school at age 14 in Wellington.
In those years he has seen people have a loved one die unexpectedly and have to make arrangements quickly, which is hard if you don't have any insurance or don't have the money. He has seen others who lost a loved one when it was perhaps more expected, and they too had a need.
"It is something Wellington has needed for some time. I have been in this profession forever it seems. The funeral homes in Wellington are all on board with it, and it is exciting to me," Day said.
He also wants to keep it simple. People call and they get help, and he wants to to remain that way.
All of the money received goes directly to the foundation and it will all be used to help people who have a need, he explained.
Getting the foundation going has helped Day also with his own condition as he battles cancer. He will turn 62 in March, and he is determined to get that far. He continues the battle as well. He said he is going to Austin, Texas this week to visit a cancer clinic where some new things are being tried.
Day grew up in Wellington, but currently lives with his niece in Wichita to be close to medical facilities there.
"It has been an exciting time to be able to do something for my hometown. Cancer is hard to beat, but I am fighting," he said. "When I first heard I had it, I was devastated. But as time goes on, my faith is in the Lord. I just keep fighting."
He wants to live, and there are still things he would like to do. He is facing the reality, and just knowing his foundation is up and running is a blessing.
He does have a different perspective on the possibility of dying soon. He has seen friends lose loved ones, and been there for them and comforted them as he could.
"This really brings it all home. I am doing ok, but it gets trying at times," he said. "I just have faith and hope for the best."
Last Saturday there was a small party where he is staying, and friends he had not seen in 30 years showed up.
"That really renewed by spirit. It makes me fight that much harder. You do get worn out at times, but that was great," he said of the event last weekend.
Tytus Conejo is a consultant to the foundation. He has worked with day for about 10 years, and bought the funeral home a couple of years ago. He said seeing Day get this foundation going, and seeing his attitude through his battle with cancer, has been an inspiration.
The foundation will give people in need up to $750 to go towards a funeral. People may also designate the foundation as a memorial gift at someone's funeral. If a family qualifies, they will make up the difference between what is given and $750. A family must have less than $3,000 in their bank account to qualify.