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Summers spent in service

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Summers spent in service

Eesha Chona (12) and her mother show their support for those against breast cancer. Eesha founded the Association of Teens Against Cancer.

Eesha Chona (12) and her mother show their support for those against breast cancer. Eesha founded the Association of Teens Against Cancer.

Courtesy of Eesha Chona

Eesha Chona (12) and her mother show their support for those against breast cancer. Eesha founded the Association of Teens Against Cancer.

Courtesy of Eesha Chona

Courtesy of Eesha Chona

Eesha Chona (12) and her mother show their support for those against breast cancer. Eesha founded the Association of Teens Against Cancer.

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Eesha Chona (12) spent her summer building a nonprofit that she co-founded last year along with her brother, Aneesh (‘13).

The Association of Teens Against Cancer (ATAC) is an organization that aims to help children and teenagers with loved ones who have been diagnosed with cancer.

The Chona siblings were inspired to start ATAC after their own mother was diagnosed with breast cancer.

“We noticed that there is a lack of support provided to the children of parents diagnosed with cancer,” Eesha said. “There’s tons of support for the patient, of course, and their spouses, but the children are unintentionally ignored. And when my brother and I went through this situation in our family, we had each other to lean on for support, but we realized that not every child is that lucky to have a sibling or even a friend who underwent the same experience.”

Eesha Chona (12) poses with arts and crafts materials. Eesha's organization supports teens with loved ones who have cancer.

Courtesy of Eesha Chona
Eesha Chona (12) poses with arts and crafts materials. Eesha’s organization supports teens with loved ones who have cancer.

ATAC allows children and teenagers to share their voice with the world through blogging, and the association provides education on the various types of cancer. There is also a directory of hotlines for teenagers to call if they need support during a crisis.

In addition to providing support nationally, ATAC is active in two continents and has given over 200 individuals access to healthcare through fundraising, but it hopes to continue to grow.

“Both my brother and I hope to extend ATAC’s domestic and international footprint,” Eesha said. “In India, we hope to sponsor those 11 villages and provide healthcare to those who wouldn’t otherwise obtain it. Secondly, we would like to expand the educational aspect of our website. In addition to providing information about types of cancer, we would like to add [research that provides] information of new, innovative therapies and groundbreaking news in cancer research.”

ATAC will also release an app this fall that allows children to send personalized cancer ribbons to their loved ones.

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