On every season of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, there's a lot of talk about "the right reasons": Who's really there to find love and who may have other motives. But for Derek Peth from JoJo's season of The Bachelorette, that phrase has taken on a completely different meaning since his time on the show has ended. In an interview with Bustle, Derek shares a tragic story that inspired him to use his Bachelorette fame for — you guessed it — the right reasons.
As Derek explains, recently his best friend, Mark, lost his sister — someone who Derek also knew very well. "She was very much a free spirit and traveled around the United States and the world as well," he says of Mark's sister, Brenda. "She had worked very closely for years with women that had been victims of domestic violence, domestic assault, and sexual assault, so it was a very important thing to her. She was such a giving, caring person and she, in her own life, didn’t have the support she needed recently and actually committed suicide." After struggling to find a way to help Brenda and Mark's family, Derek explains how he saw an opportunity to put his recent publicity to good use:
I didn’t know how to help my friend and his family other than send love and make sure he knows that he’s my brother and anything he needs I’m here for. So when they announced that they were requesting donations in support of Brenda’s causes, I was like, I gotta get other people involved in this somehow. I’ve been given somewhat of a platform to speak from and if this isn’t the right reason to — I’m here for the 'right reasons' — if this isn’t the right reason to utilize that, then what is?
Derek set up a GoFundMe page in Brenda's honor to raise money for charities local to their Iowa home that help survivors of domestic abuse and sexual assault, since Brenda spent much of her life supporting them. With so many reality stars using their notoriety to promote business ventures, endorse random products, and feud with each other on social media, it's admirable that Derek is instead turning his spotlight onto important causes that often don't receive the attention they deserve.
"My hope is just to show Mark and his family some love and show them how much I want [Brenda's] name to be remembered in the most positive light possible," Derek says, "and for her to be able to help, through her story, as many women as possible, even though she’s no longer here with us." By creating this fund and spreading the word to his newfound Bachelorette fans, Derek is undoubtedly ensuring that Brenda's memory lives on through the women these charities help.
You can donate to Derek's GoFundMe page, Brenda's cause, here. A list of resources for survivors of domestic violence can be found on the National Domestic Violence Hotline website. RAINN provides resources for sexual assault survivors.
Image: Craig Sjodin/ABC