Purdue brother's life inspires others to give
By Brent Bible (PU 93)
John Romine (PU 05) was first diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma while a freshman at Purdue University.
Although faced with the illness and treatments, he continued to John Romine pursue his education and take on leadership responsibilities with FarmHouse.
Johns struggles inspired his fellow house brothers to sponsor a hair auction to help him defray mounting healthcare costs. This first auction, where brothers solicited money in return for allowing their heads to be shaved, raised about $2,000. Intended for his personal use, John instead decided to have this money sent to Riley Hospital, where he received treatments. Truly a selfless act.
John battled his cancer into remission. However, in late 2007 he was re-diagnosed with the disease. Since reoccurrences of the cancer are rare and aggressive, he understood this was a tougher fight. He immediately began treatments again, which included a stem cell transplant in January of 2008. Again, his brothers at FarmHouse stood with him in support, and decided to again financially support him through another hair auction. The money raised this time, about $13,000, went to John in the form of a scholarship to assist with his educational and medical expenses. His ability to inspire and encourage others during a time when he was battling poor health was the inspiration for these efforts to support him.
During the summer of 2008, John asked the International Fraternity for an opportunity to speak at the 2008 biennial Conclave. He addressed approximately 250 FarmHouse members and alumni to communicate this message on the importance of the relationships he had gained while at Purdue and as a member of FarmHouse through his trials. He also asked for the International Fraternity to adopt the Leukemia-Lymphoma Society (LLS) as its official philanthropy. This action was taken by the voting delegates at the Conclave closing business meeting.
Because of his efforts and vision, FarmHouse members across the United States and Canada have already raised funds and enrolled as bone marrow donors for the LLS.
John made the comment prior to Conclave last summer that he felt God had charged him with the duty of communicating the message to others to support LLS, and even if he was not able to overcome his battle with the disease, he could help someone else in need of a marrow donor or provide funding for further research.
In the fall semester of 2008, John continued to build awareness of his disease at Purdue and in Columbus, Ind., his hometown. Numerous bone marrow drives were organized which resulted in financial assistance and donor enrollments for the LLS.
John became increasingly ill waiting for a marrow donor match and continued to fight a very aggressive form of lymphoma. Despite his courage and the medical staff efforts, John died on Dec. 5, 2008, of complications from the cancer.
Even in death, John continues to inspire others to be passionate about philanthropic causes. For his funeral, he asked memorials be made to the Purdue FarmHouse Foundation, LLS, the Indiana Bone Marrow Donor program, and his church.
Through the Purdue chapters local foundation, a scholarship is being organized in his honor to financially assist future Purdue brothers with scholastic needs. Additionally the Purdue Dance Marathon has been re-organized to support Johns philanthropic aspirations.
His call for support from his International brothers did not fall on deaf ears. The Arkansas chapter become one of the first chapters to support the LLS by organizing a dodge ball tournament resulting in a $500 donation. When informed about this support shortly before his death, John replied, Thats pretty cool.
We hope his character and his commitment to our Promise of Service will continue. John was a friend, a farmer, an FFA American Degree holder, a member of the Masons, a leader, a Boilermaker and certainly a FarmHouse man.