Community holds fundraiser for SUU family in need

AvantGuard Monitoring Centers hosted an online fundraiser and a 5K run on Sept. 23, 2023. The fundraiser provided assistance to the family of Brad Simpson, a faculty member at Southern Utah University. Simpson’s son, Caden, was diagnosed with two rare forms of liver cancer. The fundraiser is ongoing, with more donations coming in often. 

Caden is an 8-year-old boy who received his cancer diagnosis in April 2022. Since then, he has undergone many expensive treatments, including chemotherapy, blood transfusions and a liver transplant. 

Each year, AG hosts a fundraiser to help a family in need, as they emphasize the importance of caring about both their employees and their community. 

AG reached out to the Simpsons after several employees, many of them previous or current students of Simpson, suggested the family be the focus of this year’s fundraiser. Simpson expressed gratitude for the caring gesture.

“I was, of course, shocked and grateful that a student would be so thoughtful and kind with this challenge we were facing,” said Simpson. “I am always so amazed to see how compassionate, kind and caring people are.” 

Liz Wiley, operations manager of AG’s Cedar City branch, supports the company’s vision for helping those in need.

“If we can chip away at some of that burden, we absolutely will,” Wiley stated. “There is always so much going on in the world. If I can be that person that, even for a few minutes, can bring a bright spot — I love that.”

Caden recently had to be life-flighted to Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City due to an infection, but he is quickly recovering and his family is very optimistic for the future. 

“We hope to be able to get him back in school, as he has not been able to attend since the end of kindergarten,” Simpson said. “He is currently in second grade, and we hope sometime this year he will be able to return.”

Despite his own struggles, Caden is always thinking of others. “The other night, as we were in the hospital, we could hear a young girl next door,” Simpson said. “[Caden] said ‘Dad, sometimes I get sad when I hear her cry.’” This love for others brings a ray of light to the family and shows just how strong Caden can be.

AG employees donated several gifts for Caden’s birthday and awarded the family $15,136 at the 5K to cover the medical expenses. Everyone who has been involved is excited for Caden and his journey through recovery. This fundraiser was a great example of the supportive culture here at SUU. 

Author: Bryson Oleson
Photographer: Bryson Oleson
Editor: Nick Stein