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The Seshu Story - A Beacon Of Courage


06/06/2013

 GIVING BACK TO THE COMMUNITY

By

Rao K Kandukuri (on behalf of Kandukuri Family & Friends)

I never expected that my life turns in many ways so quick.  When a great opportunity invited me to serve as Software Engineer, I never cared  leaving my job, family, relations and friends back home but just landed with great excitement on this great land of opportunities (USA) in late ‘90s for a better life to  myself  and my dependents.   The family life was so great for a small family of mine (spouse and elementary school going daughter and son) in Greater Boston area since 2000.  The friendship circle started growing bigger from single digit to double digit in a span of just few years due to my work and other family activities.  Later my passion for ‘Volunteering’ pulled me in depth of community service through various local organizations in New England for about 7 years and I made a great number of family friends around me. 

At this point a Big Wave hit my life in 2010 – my 2nd child Seshu Kandukuri (son) a 17 year old high school sophomore, was diagnosed with a non-treatable metastatic sarcoma.  After hearing that heart breaking news, me and my family felt like we were in middle of the ocean on a sinking boat and couldn’t even think a chance of surviving.  The news got spread pretty fast among my friends, community and my kids’ school friends.  While there was no relief from various Chemotherapy regimens during the course of ‘his’ treatments between 2010 and 2011, and after knowing the fact that he can’t survive longer i.e. maximum one year, his perception was totally changed - he decided to enjoy the life with happiness as much as possible.  While he was suffering with cancer he stood for other patients at Jimmy Fund of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston and acted as an elder brother.  On treatment, he finished 26.2 miles walk for other cancer patients and their families at the Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk in 2011.  He got his student driving license, tried attending classes at school during the times he was out of the treatment and later finished his Junior, Senior years of study and  Graduated from high school.  His life dream was becoming an Entrepreneur and in that passion he attended a year-long  TYE classes organized by TiE Boston Chapter in 2009-10 and his 2 member team’s business project got 3rd prize in the TYE competition during that year.   As his next successful step, he got college admission for Fall 2011 at Quinsigamond Community College, Worcester in Math and Business majors.  He loved driving and used to commute to college from home by car.  2 months later his health condition turned bad, was on radiation therapy for about three months but no relief, finally he’s free from this world with no pain for ever.  We lost our loved one on 7th March, 2012.  But he is still seeing this world even after his death from two different states at the same time, i.e.  Seshu donated both of his Cornea, they were successfully transplanted to two individuals – one in Massachusetts and another in Delaware.  This was made possible because he signed up for ‘Organ Donation’ with New England Organ Bank at the time of obtaining driving license.  I have no words to say about my son. 

He inspired so many of his classmates and community members.  The 2 pages of his life story “Road To Success” written by him, just few months before his death (March, 2012), was a great inspiration for me and my family and many of his classmates – few of them have submitted an essay as part of their college course on his life battle .  His Grafton High School classmates have conducted ‘Strides for Seshu’ walk  in 2010 and always used to call him as ‘Seshu Strong’ and still calling him with the same name.

The outpouring support and help by so many friends and families from every corner touched me and my family a lot.  Though there is no permanent healing, but certainly it’s helping us in moving forward.  Today we learned what  ‘support’ and ‘help’ means.  We always have been thinking what is the best way to show our “Thanks” to our supporters, so we decided to keep doing some charity activities (www.SeshuStrong.org) within our limits in memory of our son Seshu Kandukuri to keep alive his spirit and to extend the support to others in many forms as ‘Giving back to community’ with a goal of spreading Cancer Awareness.  In 2012, we instituted a scholarship called ‘Seshu Strong Community Scholarship’  (by Kandukuri Family & Friends) to be awarded every year to two senior graduating students at Grafton High School for their service towards the community/charity. 

Following are the list of ‘Giving Back to the community’ activities  by Kandukuri Family & Friends in Greater Boston area in the name of ‘Seshu Strong’ and couple of events by others:

A. FUTURE EVENTS:

·         Sunday 30th June, 2013: Indian Youth Night / Grad Party for High School Students @ Littleton High School, Littleton, MA 01460 – An education and social meet.  Eminent Educationalists from Boston Universities will be addressing the gathering.  Also a former student of MIT now working at NASA on ‘Space Exploration project’ will be sharing her experience through a video seminar.

Online Registration:  visit www.SeshuStrong.org  OR  https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1YzexCQLznkQ6RdEJLM1PqFIbmxHG66SBYvP8klASFNo/viewform

·         Sunday 8th Sep 2013: Seshu Strong Team to participate in the 25th Annual Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk to support Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston,MA.  Goal to raise funds:  $10K.  (raised $12K+ in 2011 & $14K+ in 2012 for Jimmy Fund)

Team web page:  http://www.JimmyFundWalk.org/2013/SeshuStrong

B. PAST EVENTS:

·         2011: Jimmy Fund Walk on 11th Sep 2011 – (Seshu finished 26.2 miles walk) 

http://www.lokvani.com/lokvani/article.php?article_id=7673

["....I walk for those bald little heads I see every time I walk into the Jimmy Fund. They're too young to have experienced the finer things in life or to even know what hit them. All they know is how to smile and they put a smile on my face while they're at it. Keep doing you, little soldiers. – Seshu Kandukuri]

·         2012: ‘Seshu Strong Community Scholarship Award’to 2 senior high school students at Grafton High School, Grafton, MA on high school graduation day.

·         2012: Jimmy Fund Walk on 9th Sep 2012 in the name of 'Seshu Strong'

http://grafton.patch.com/articles/seshustrong-raises-14k-for-cancer-prepares-for-march-event

http://grafton.patch.com/articles/seshu

·         2012: Tennis Tournament on 27th Jul 2012:  TAGB organized Tennis Tournament in memory of Seshu in Westborough, MA where 125+ tennis players participated.

·         2012: VT Seva Dallas Cancer Awareness Walk - "..We recollected and honored Seshu (Boston), a youngster who passed away because of Cancer.."

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151069791607032&set=a.10151069790052032.427926.334205032031&type=3&theater

http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151069790052032.427926.334205032031&type=1

·         2013 Valentine's day:  'Seshu Strong' Valentine's gift bags for Paediatric cancer patients distributed at Jimmy Fund/Dana-Farber Cancer Institute on 14th Feb, 2013.

·         2013 Organized Cancer Awareness Walk in Grafton, MA in the name of 'Seshu Strong' on 9th Mar 2013 remembering Seshu's 1st Anniversary.

http://www.facebook.com/events/211815968956550/?ref=2

·         VT Seva's "Dance For A Cure" remembering Seshu Kandukuri @ Ashland High School, Ashland, MA on 30th Mar 2013.

·         2013: ‘Seshu Strong Community Scholarship Award’to 2 senior high school students at Grafton High School, Grafton, MA on high school graduation day.

OTHERS:

Torture Therapy - Seshu's feelings on chemotherapy in a rap music style sung by him (1st March, 2011)

VIDEO INTERVIEW: (in his own words)

Seshu Kandukuri Remembers Cancer Diagnosis as Emotional Time, But Credits Jimmy Fund for Raising Confidence and Building Relationships   by NESN Staff on Mon, Aug 29, 2011 at 7:57PM

http://nesn.com/2011/08/seshu-kandukuri-remembers-cancer-diagnosis-as-emotional-time-but-credits-jimmy-fund-for-raising-conf/



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