Sophomore Lara Rahman kicks off fundraiser for blood cancer research


Lara Rahman

Sophomore Lara Rahman signed up to be a 2022 Student of the Year candidate for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Katie Hur

Every three minutes, someone is diagnosed with cancer. One in four cancers in children are leukemia. However, due to medical advances within the past 50 years, the survival rate of children with leukemia has risen to over 90 percent according to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS).

This last statistic caught sophomore Lara Rahman’s attention, and she knew she wanted to contribute to these medical advances, despite only being in high school.

Rahman fulfilled this ambition by signing up for the LLS Students of the Year program, which is an annual fundraising competition among “exemplary high school students” to raise money for blood cancer research and patient funds.

Her motivation was sparked the previous summer, when she shadowed surgeons and other doctors at St. Vincent’s hospital and observed different cases, some of which involved cancer. The opportunity allowed her to explore her interest in medicine, especially as a potential career path.

“I just wanted to make an impact on the medical field, and Students of the Year was a good way for me to do that,” Rahman said.

She kicked off her seven-week campaign on Jan. 20 with the goal of raising $25,000 by March 11. She plans on achieving this sum through corporate sponsorships with local businesses, personal connections, and social media.

“You learn skills like talking to businesses and setting up meetings, marketing, and project management,” Rahman said.

Additionally, she will be supported by her fundraising teammates from Park Tudor: Nandini Mathavan, Ria Tandra, Sragvee Atluri, Emaline Morse, Isha Shankar, Ibrahim Mohsin, Isabella Wilburn, and Sanjana Adig.

“They expand the network and spread the word, too,” Rahman said, reflecting on the value of having a team of different ages and from different communities. “It’s a lot of thinking together…. There’s a lot of different ideas that you would never come up with.”

Anyone can donate through Rahman’s website. Otherwise, she suggests, they can help by spreading awareness, especially statistics about cancer’s widespread reach.

“You don’t know many people it impacts until you actually read about it,” Rahman said.

Outside of LLS, Rahman is the merchandise chair for the Caroline Symmes Children’s Cancer Endowment, which funds pediatric cancer research.

“I think it would be great if we’re the last generation to know cancer,” Rahman said.

To donate, go to