UNLV grieves after a student's death in a charity boxing match
The death last month of a UNLV student in a charity boxing match is teaching the campus a lesson in grieving.
Nathan Valencia, a 20-year-old junior, died last month, days after being injured in a fraternity-sponsored charity boxing match.
The coroner ruled the death a homicide but police said there was no criminality. The fraternity has been suspended, and the Nevada Athletic Commission has been brought in to investigate.
Also, thousands of students are now mourning a classmate and processing a tragedy for the university.
In a statement released after Valencia’s death, UNLV President Keith Whitfield said, “We are shocked and heartbroken as we mourn the loss of one of our own. Coping with the loss of life is always difficult, especially under these circumstances.”
Kelly Thomas-Boyers, who started the grief-support organization Adam's Place after the death of her son, said healing can start with a parent lending an ear.
"One of our communication skills that we don't always employ, but it's really important right now, is the ability to listen to be active listeners with the youth around us," she said.
UNLV graduate student Kaleah T., who asked that her last name not be used, said "from what I see on social media and things like that, a lot of people are hurting right now.
"It seems like Nathan was very close to a lot of individuals," said Kaleah, who also works as an intern at Adam's Place. "My heart hurts for it for him and his family as well, and his friends, too."
She encouraged the UNLV community to seek healing by coming together.
"What I want them to know is that they're not alone, to come together right now during this time, to grieve together, to welcome those feelings," Kaleah said. "Even though the person's not physically here, that relationship still exists."
Kelly Thoma-Boyers, co-founder, Adam’s Place; Kaleah T., UNLV graduate student, Adam's Place intern