The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Houston Region Announces 2021 Students of the Year Winners

By: Christina Triggs
| Published 04/14/2021

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HOUSTON, TX – The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS)’s Students of the Year fundraising campaign brings together thousands of students across the country from diverse backgrounds and experiences who are extraordinarily driven to reach their own personal fundraising best and, ultimately, help LLS fight blood cancer, a disease that is diagnosed every nine minutes in the U.S. Today, LLS’s Houston Region announced the 2021 local “Students of the Year” winners, Mahir Khurana, 15, and Jackson Todd, 14, both of John Cooper High School in The Woodlands, Texas, who raised the most funds across the Texas Gulf Coast.

Students of the Year is a seven-week philanthropic leadership development program during which students foster professional skills such as entrepreneurship, marketing, and project management in order to raise funds for LLS. Top local fundraisers become eligible to win the national title. The students raise money in honor of a local patient hero who is currently battling or is in remission from a blood cancer.

The funds raised through Students of the Year are used for:

• Research to advance lifesaving therapies like immunotherapy, genomics and personalized medicine, which are saving lives today.
• Free blood cancer information, education and support for patients and families.
• National and local advocacy efforts driving policies that accelerate new treatments and ensure patients have access to care so that they can live longer, healthier lives.

When Khurana and Todd learned they were named the local Students of the Year they were thrilled. “Students of the year taught us a lot about leadership and teamwork. I learned a lot about what we can do as kids to help others. Also, I learned about the business world and how to communicate with companies. It was a great experience and I hope we can continue to inspire people to make a difference.” said Todd. Khurana echoed Todd’s sentiment saying, “The student of the year campaign fostered many facets of my personal growth. As a leader, I learned how to guide and motivate my team members to ensure everyone's success. My interactions with numerous professionals regarding sponsorship and donations helped me with fine-tuning my communication and presenting skills. Philanthropy has always been and will be an important part of my life and this experience allowed for me to focus on the personal mission of raising funds for cancer research.”

Khurana and Todd ran an incredible fundraising campaign which involved gathering their community of family, friends and classmates to raise funds in honor of their friends and family members battling blood cancers.

“Congratulations to Mahir and Jackson and all our candidates, supporters and volunteers who helped to make Students of the Year a phenomenal success,” said Billie Sue Parris, LLS’s Gulf Coast executive director. “The COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t stopped LLS from advancing our mission and it sure isn’t stopping these determined students from their commitment to helping blood cancer patients. LLS will continue to tap into our rich history of innovation to reimagine fundraising for the digital age and new audiences of participants. We’re so grateful to the Students of the Year candidates and volunteers who fundraise for LLS — they are truly bringing us closer to a world without blood cancer.”

Since its founding in 1949, LLS has invested more than $1.3 billion in cutting edge blood cancer research worldwide, and its support has been instrumental in the development of nearly every breakthrough in blood cancer treatment. To address the unique concerns of blood cancer patients throughout the pandemic, LLS has amplified its longstanding efforts to provide free information and support to blood cancer patients and their families, while also advocating for policies that will protect patients.

To learn more about LLS’s Students of the Year program and how it might work for you or someone you know, visit: www.studentseries.org.

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