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Kevin Zarlengo is spending no money in May and working at people's homes for meals. He's using the money he saves for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer.

Chicagoan pledges to spend no money in May to fight breast cancer

by Annabelle Ju
May 20, 2014


Annabelle Ju/MEDILL

Kevin Zarlengo rides the Divvy bike everywhere instead of paying for public transit.


Kevin Zarlengo is an amiable and outgoing 28-year-old who is not spending a single dime in May. This personal challenge has a bigger meaning for the University Village resident. His savings this month will go toward the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, a two-day local event beginning May 31.

It all began when his cousin asked him to participate in the walk with her and her friends affected by breast cancer. He jumped at the opportunity, until he realized he had to raise $1,800. The Chicago Tribune sales representative had no idea how he would raise so much money and decided to try something different.

He is doing household chores at people’s homes – friends, family, even strangers – in exchange for meals and donations to his campaign. His only expense is his phone bill and he's using his annual Divvy membership to get around the city.

 He said people have been friendly and supportive; he’s surprised by how many strangers contacted him in support of his cause.

“Sometimes I’m full, sometimes hungry,” he said, “but it’s been awesome.”

Through his blog, he is documenting every day of the month. So far, he’s helped his brother move, cleaned an old friend’s apartment and removed screws on someone’s deck, among other things.

It can be tough riding the bike everywhere rain or shine but it’s all worth it for him. People affected by breast cancer have reached out to him – a reason for him to keep going.

Once the month is over, Zarlengo can think of one thing he’s eager to purchase.

“The first thing I’ll buy is a bratwurst,” he said.