"Whatever fleeting visibility I have from this Survivor win, I want to dedicate to this cause," says the reality star

By Steve Helling
January 24, 2017 01:30 PM
Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS via Getty

Adam Klein has put his money where his mouth is.

After walking away with the $1 million prize on Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X, the 25-year-old homeless shelter manager donated $100,000 to Stand Up To Cancer.

But it didn’t stop there.

After Klein spoke publicly on the season finale of Survivor, the public began donating, as well. “From the finale, the public donated over $160,000,” he tells PEOPLE. “There were over 1,900 unique donors, 90 percent of which were new donors to Stand Up To Cancer.”

Additionally, the Bristol-Myers Squibb Company matched the public donations, up to $100,000. “That’s $360,000 that is going toward cancer research. I’m very proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish.”

Klein, of course, has a very personal reason behind his philanthropy. Just two days after Survivor filming ended, his mother, Susie, succumbed to lung cancer. She was 60 years old. He returned home just hours before she passed away.

Adam Klein and his father listen to presentations at the Stand Up To Cancer Scientific Summit
| Credit: Todd Buchanan/SU2C 2017

This week, Klein attended the Stand Up To Cancer Scientific Summit in Santa Monica, where he heard presentations from researchers and scientists. “This ‘dream team’ is working on the same mutation of cancer that my mom had,” says Klein. “It’s called KRAS, and it’s notoriously difficult to treat, and there just aren’t good enough answers yet. This team has some of the best researchers from around the country coming together to tackle this mutation. They’re presenting some of the research that they’ve been doing.”

Klein tells PEOPLE that he decided to seize his elevated platform to raise awareness and money for cancer research. “There has been momentum since the show’s finale,” he says. “I wanted to follow up on that as much as possible. There is still a lot of potential to do even more good.”

Adam Klein does a Facebook Live session with leaders from Stand Up To Cancer and the American Cancer Society
| Credit: Todd Buchanan/SU2C 2017

“Whatever fleeting visibility I have from this Survivor win, I want to dedicate to this cause,” he continues. “It is obviously very personal to me. It’s a way to honor my mom’s legacy.”

To join with Klein to support cancer research, visit his page on Stand Up To Cancer’s website.