Students hold fundraiser for classmate with Leukemia

Armando Marin and Brandi Doyal

Family and friends of sophomore James-Minh Tran held a fundraiser Wednesday at New Mid-City Lanes Rock ‘N Bowl with assistance from Archon Information Systems. Proceeds from this event will be split between the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, the world’s largest nonprofit blood cancer association, and the Tran family to offset costs for Tran’s leukemia medical treatment.

Tran was diagnosed with acute monocytic leukemia this summer. This type of leukemia is characterized by low numbers of blood cells and the accumulation of monocytes, cells which are critical to the body’s immune response. Jamie-Anh Tran, Tran’s twin sister, said her brother’s health declined rapidly and unexpectedly.

“He was really healthy, and it happened all of a sudden,” Jamie-Anh Tran said. “He has been in the hospital pretty much since July.”

Tickets for the fundraiser cost $45 for adults 21 and older and $30 for those under 21 and were sold online and at the door. Attendees enjoyed bowling, dancing, food and an open bar. Local businesses including Dat Dog, PJ’s Coffee, Reginelli’s and Freret Street Yoga donated prizes that were raffled off throughout the night.

Sophomore Shakthi Unnithan, a friend of the Trans, assisted in organizing the fundraiser.

“I went to high school with James-Minh Tran and his sister Jamie,” Unnithan said. “When I heard over the summer that he was diagnosed with leukemia, I felt really terrible and I wanted to do something to help. I know how expensive leukemia treatments can be, and what better way to make a difference than hold a fundraiser? We have volunteers from the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society who also graciously set up a blood drive at Archon Information Systems back in August.”

Tran attended Benjamin Franklin High School in New Orleans. Several of his friends, now Tulane students as well, said they found it important to support their friend.

“He is a good friend of ours, and we wanted to be supportive in his time of need,” freshman Dan Chang said.

Crystal Rathore, a graduate student studying cell and molecular biology, said she attended the event at Rock ‘N’ Bowl because she has close relationships with both siblings.

“I came to support James-Minh Tran, who I actually consider to be my little brother because Jamie is my Newcomb little sister,” Rathore said. “I figured, they’re twins; he’s also my other brother. I am also really passionate about oncology itself. I want to go to medical school and become an oncologist, so his story definitely inspires me.”

Rathore said that she believed the fundraiser had a positive impact.

“I think every small step makes a difference,” Rathore said. “I hope that this really helps [Tran] out in the best way possible.”