U student dies after long fight with leukemia

by Andrew Tellijohn

Wesley Whiteside characterized his son as a fighter, someone who would never give up. But even the best fighters face bouts they can’t win.
On Sept. 2, Che Whiteside, University wrestler and circulation manager at The Minnesota Daily, died after a six-year battle with leukemia.
“He overcame great odds to touch a lot of people’s lives,” his father said.
Whiteside, 26, continued to work two jobs even as he grew more ill, his mother Julie Whiteside said.
But he had another side, as well. In a paper he wrote, Whiteside described fatherhood as the best thing that ever happened to him. Che was the father of a six-year-old girl named Alexa.
“The unconditional love that one gives a child is one of the greatest gifts one can bestow on another,” he wrote.
Becoming a father also helped him gain focus in the rest of his life, Whiteside’s father said. He picked up three jobs and began paying past debts.
“He was an excellent type of worker,” his father said. “He put a lot of emphasis on what he did, whatever he did.”
He cared for others above himself. He tried to help those around him. And he took nothing for granted, especially after he had a bone marrow transplant, his mother said.
Whiteside is survived by his parents, two brothers, Benjamin and Daniel, his girlfriend Kim Cronin and his daughter Alexa.
In his four years at the Daily, he served as a circulation driver and as circulation manager.
“Che was quiet, but when it came to crunch time … he was there for the Daily,” said Daily Business Manager Andrea Cuderman.
His good ideas and his loyalty to the Daily were a huge contribution to the newspaper, she said.
“I know he cared a lot about the Daily and the people at the Daily,” Cuderman said.
The Daily and the Daily’s Alumni Association have both donated $500 to a fund in his memory, Editor in Chief Gregg Aamot said.
“His life exemplified a standard others wanted to emulate,” Julie Whiteside said. “I was and am very proud of my son. He was a fine young man.”