Derek Peth was sent home by JoJo Fletcher during the sixth episode of The Bachelorette. The former banker had gone on the season's first one-on-one date, then faded into the background a bit as the Chad Johnson tempest came to the fore. He emerged for some conflict with Chad and the clique of dudes led by Alex before being forced into a two-on-one date in Argentina. Chase McNary got that date rose, and Derek's time on the show came to an end. Peth tells TVGuide.com that his friends started calling him "Argentina" right away, since "Don't Cry for Me, Argentina" from the musical Evita was playing during his tearful exit.
That episode aired June 27th. But what was otherwise a big moment for Peth had a pall cast over it by something that happened earlier that week. He had received a phone call from Mark, one of his closest hometown friends, with some terrible news: Mark's sister, Brenda, had taken her own life. (TVGuide.com has declined to publish Brenda's last name at her family's request.)
Peth was at a loss for what to do to help his Brenda's family, but then her loved ones made an announcement. In lieu of a traditional memorial service where attendees would bring flowers or food, they requested that people donate to charities that offer aid to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, since those were the people Brenda advocated for in her job as a social worker.
So Peth decided to use the attention he's receiving from The Bachelorette for good and urge people to contribute in Brenda's memory. He set up a GoFundMe campaign, the proceeds of which will go to Cedar Valley Friends of the Family, a nonprofit organization that assists domestic violence and sexual assault survivors in the region of Iowa where Peth and Brenda are from, and possibly other charities that support the cause that Brenda believed in.
"I wanted to participate in that whatever way I could, given that I have a small platform," Peth says. "I wanted to support them and help do what we can in Brenda's name."
Brenda's cause is Peth's main focus in post-Bachelorette life at the moment. After the show ended, he didn't go back to his investment banking job and instead traveled a bit before returning home to Iowa, where he's renovating a rental property he owns in preparation to sell. He declined to answer whether or not he'll appear on the upcoming season of Bachelor In Paradise, but he notes that ABC hasn't released all the names yet.
Peth had a positive experience with The Bachelorette. He made at least one close friend, Wells Adams, who coincidentally was eliminated on the same episode. He says that he's satisfied with the show's presentation of his character.
"I hope I came across as a genuine, caring person," he says.
To support Peth's campaign, visit gofundme.com/brendascause.