A young American university student in Chicago has launched a leukaemia awareness campaign and fundraiser for the benefit of an Indian American youth suffering// from the disease.
Steve Hill, a junior at Loyola University, Chicago, started the campaign after coming to know that Nikit Patel, the 22-year-old son of a university campus coffee shop owner, has been diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukaemia (AML).
AML is a cancer of the myeloid line of white blood cells, characterised by the rapid proliferation of abnormal cells, which accumulate in the bone marrow and interfere with the production of normal blood cells.
According to a report in The Phoenix, the official student newspaper of Loyola University, Hill and Chicago real estate developer Tom Pierce organised an all-day event last week as part of the Nikit Patel Benefit Project.
Both Hill and Pierce have a close relationship with Nikit's father Pravin Patel, who runs the Kaffecino Coffee Shop in the university's Lake Shore campus. The Patels emigrated from Gujarat in India to the US in 1991 and opened the coffee shop in 2003.
Both Hill and Pierce developed close ties with the Patels as they were frequent customers. While Hill became a regular customer at Kaffecino over last summer while fulfilling his prerequisite requirements for Loyola's medical school, Pierce developed a relationship with the senior Patel when he kept visiting the coffee shop in the course of business-related visits to the area.
"The whole idea is to provide support for the family and maybe take a little pressure off and allow them to buy some medication for a month," Hill told The Phoenix about last week's event. "This definitely raises awareness."
In the event, held in the coffee shop itself, free pastries, water and AML information pamphlets were handed out to customers and those willing to donate to Nikit's cause.
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