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Local 19-year-old helps best friend complete bucket list after cancer diagnosis

A 19-year-old from Carmichael is postponing his education to help his best friend complete a bucket list before it’s too late.

Dillon Hill, 19, and Chris Betancourt, 20, first became friends in 4th grade when they bonded over a shared love of video games.

A year later, Betancourt was diagnosed with chronic leukemia. To help get through it, Hill would visit Betancourt every day and play video games with him.

Now, roughly than 10 years later, Hill is still by his friend’s side.

In September, Betancourt’s cancer returned stronger than ever before. Doctors told him that unless he can find a bone marrow donor – specifically of Puerto Rican descent – he only has one or two years to live.

“I was pretty sad for the whole week hearing it…I was like crying for like a week straight,” Betancourt said. “But Dillon knew I was dealing with a lot. He was racking his head, ‘what can we do?’”

Hill, now a freshman at UC Davis, told Betancourt to come up with a bucket list. After this semester, Hill plans to take a leave of absence from his education to help his complete it.

“He said he's afraid of not being able to experience these,” Hill said, recalling a conversation they had after the diagnosis.

“And that point, it’s like, if this is our last chance then we need to do it," Betancourt said. “He just came to me and said, ‘make 50 items and bring them to me and let's start doing them.'"

On Thanksgiving, the two completed two of the items: To feed the homeless, and to order 100 of an item from a fast food place.

A video of them handing out Jack-in-the-Box to homeless in Carmichael has since gone viral.

“I didn’t even think we’d get any news coverage, anything of the sort…maybe a few people on YouTube might be like, ‘alright, good job guys,’” Betancourt said. “But to see other people, like, get in on it, was nice.”

Other items on the bucket list include to “help an old lady cross the street,” “to break a world record,” and to “be on Ellen.” (They also wanted to “yell really loud in a quiet place” – which is something they were able to do during our interview.)

For more on their story, check-out their website MyBestFriendsList.com.

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