Dr. Ramesh Kolluru and Kacie Francois Talk Leukemia Fundraiser
Dr. Ramesh Kolluru and Kacie Francois spoke with Bernie about a fundraiser for Kacie and other children who struggle with leukemia in our community on Acadiana Morning News.
Twelve year - old Kacie Francois is the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's "Girl of the Year" for the 2016 campaign, who has had cancer twice in her young life. Dr. Kolluru, Vice President of Research at UL, explained his involvement with the "Authement Express," a fundraising group dedicated to raising $100, 000 for Kacie and other children like her.
Dr. Ray Authement has been spearheading the campaign for about 15 years and asked me to participate. I found out that Kacie is the Girl of the Year and goes to school with my children. They are in the 6th grade and she is in the 7th grade, so there is no way I could walk away from this cause. It's one of the best things I've ever been involved with. Leukemia and other cancers are taking away our children, the most precious amongst us, far too early. As adults, shame on us if we don't do all we can to help.
This is an enormous grassroots campaign, we have 22, 000 kids in the Lafayette Parish school system that are involved in the campaign because it is for their friend and a great cause.
"Team Authement Express" are kids who have taken time out of their day to decorate envelopes showing what a cancer - free world would look like to them and what they will do to help fight cancer.
We are calling on the generosity of Acadiana to rally behind this cause, because adults need to care. Our children in schools today to get engaged and make cancer their passion, so that the next generation will win against this disease.
Kacie shared her experiences as a cancer survivor.
I was 3 when I was first diagnosed, and it lasted about 2 years. It was hard because I was alienated from other children my age. When I was 5, I finished treatment, and would go every year to the hospital to get regular checkups. In June 2012, we went and the doctor said my cancer was gone and would never return. I began getting anxiety afterwards, and just felt "off." Doctors discovered I had a gallstone, and before it was removed, a line of lymph nodes on the side of my neck had swollen up.
The doctors took a biopsy, and the results came back and said that I had relapsed. My oncologist didn't believe it, because it didn't show up in the blood work. He ordered a bone marrow test, and on October 19, 2012, we found it had relapsed. It's been hard because I missed most of my 4th grade year, which is when you make new friends and learn new things. I was away from my family for 17 weeks, I was in Memphis, my dad and my brother could only come up every other week.
Kacie asked the people of Acadiana to consider helping other kids in her position
I just want to ask you to donate as much as you can, because we need to fund research so that kids don't have to worry about what I had to worry about.
Dr. Kolluru also discussed Team Brittni, which seeks to raise funds and support for Brittni Clement, daughter of KTDY's CJ Clements, who continues to battle leukemia.
Team Authement Express and Team Brittni are fighting the same fight. We wish Brittni and Cj's family well, and on behalf of our team, we are going to make a contribution of $250 toward Team Brittni. We need everyone to rally together because it will be a long journey.
Click the image above to hear the full interview with Dr. Kolluru and Kacie, and click here to donate to Kacie's fundraiser, "Team Authement Express."