A Promise Kept: Weishar Brothers honor late brother by helping cancer patients

Published: Nov. 21, 2022 at 6:31 PM EST
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - Two brothers are on a mission to help ease the financial burden on families battling cancer.

Nic Weishar is a former Notre Dame football player who lives in South Bend. He and his brother Danny have raised over two million dollars in the past nine years, and it all started with their older brother’s dying wish. WNDU’s Lauren Moss was there as they surprised a local cancer patient at Memorial Hospital.

26-year-old Joseph Barnhart of Mishawaka has had a rough few years.

“I had stage II Hodgkins Lymphoma when I was 18. I was a senior in high school; you’re on top of the world and think you’re invincible, and then this hits you,” he recalled.

He’s currently going through chemotherapy again.

“I lost all my hair and got really sick, but I couldn’t complain because there were kids who had it way worse than me,” Barnhart said.

It’s that type of selfless, positive attitude that the Weishar boys look for in patients, a reminder of their older brother Andrew who died when he was only 21.

“Andrew was only 19 when he was diagnosed with colorectal cancer,” Nic Weishar said. “His body was withering away, and he was on hospice, but he didn’t care to talk about himself... he was asking people how they were.”

Before Andrew died in 2012, thousands offered their support to the Weishar family in Chicago.

“He (Andrew) was so popular in our southside community, which is a big family-based community, and there were thousands of people that came to our doorstep,” Danny Weishar said.

Andrew had one wish...

“He pulled my brother and I aside and gave us his last wish of being able to pay forward the kindness and generosity he was shown throughout his battle,” Nic said.

“Big bro asked us something and it was a promise that we were going to make sure we fulfilled,” Danny said.

The brothers created The Andrew Weishar Foundation.

“Nic and I just two of the thousands that make sure the foundation continues to thrive and those are the folks we turn to from a gratitude perspective,” Danny said. “Without them, Andrew’s memory isn’t what it is today and we aren’t helping all these families.”

They’ve helped more than 400 families in the past nine years... including right here in Michiana.

“Nic came to Notre Dame and this South Bend community wrapped their arms around us,” Danny said.

“When I was here at school, we did a lot here at the local hospitals, so it’s a good feeling to be back helping this community that gave so much to the university and to be able to pay it forward to this place is truly special,” Nic said.

And you can be a part of it... Their primary fundraiser, “Weish Fest,” is coming up on Friday, Dec. 2 with a star-studded musical lineup including the Fray and Quinn XCII.

“You come to Weish Fest, you may be coming for a musical act, but you leave knowing exactly what you just did by being a part of it and that’s what we care about most....ensuring that everyone who attends knows where their funds and fun are going to,” Danny explained.

Going to life-changing moments like this one with Joseph Barnhart.

“I believe in good karma,” Barnhart said. “It’s like, ‘Why does this have to happen to me?’ And then these guys come... it’s very shocking how people are willing to do something like this for someone they don’t even know.”

Weish Fest is happening Friday, Dec. 2 at 115 Bourbon St. 3359 W 115th Street, Merrionette Park, IL 60803

If you can’t attend the concert but would like to donate, visit their website at weish4ever.org