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Bow graduates support classmate whose father died of cancer

  • Arun Luckoor, center, is a graduation senior who lost his father to cancer a few weeks ago. His senior project was a bone marrow registry drive inspired by his father and accomplished with the help of his classmates, who wore green bracelets at graduation to honor him. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

    Arun Luckoor, center, is a graduation senior who lost his father to cancer a few weeks ago. His senior project was a bone marrow registry drive inspired by his father and accomplished with the help of his classmates, who wore green bracelets at graduation to honor him.

    (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

  • Arun Luckoor is a graduating senior who lost his father to cancer a few weeks ago. His senior project was a bone marrow registry drive inspired by his father and accomplished with the help of his classmates, who wore green bracelets at graduation to honor him. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

    Arun Luckoor is a graduating senior who lost his father to cancer a few weeks ago. His senior project was a bone marrow registry drive inspired by his father and accomplished with the help of his classmates, who wore green bracelets at graduation to honor him.

    (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

  • Bow senior DJ Voisine embraces his girlfriend Sarah Masters while hanging out in the hall before the ceremony at Bow High School on June 8, 2013. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

    Bow senior DJ Voisine embraces his girlfriend Sarah Masters while hanging out in the hall before the ceremony at Bow High School on June 8, 2013.

    (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

  • Bow seniors Jessie Andrus and Erin Inks chat while waiting for the graduation ceremony to start at Bow High School on June 8, 2013.   <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

    Bow seniors Jessie Andrus and Erin Inks chat while waiting for the graduation ceremony to start at Bow High School on June 8, 2013.

    (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

  • Bow seniors play with a hackey sack while waiting to line up for their graduation ceremony at Bow High School on June 8, 2013. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

    Bow seniors play with a hackey sack while waiting to line up for their graduation ceremony at Bow High School on June 8, 2013.

    (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

  • Seniors, including Crystal Stahley, center, wait in anticipation before filing out into the school gym at Bow High School for their graduation on June 8, 2013. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

    Seniors, including Crystal Stahley, center, wait in anticipation before filing out into the school gym at Bow High School for their graduation on June 8, 2013.

    (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

  • Graduating students tapped the word "Win" that is scrawled over the doorway into the gym that is a tradition of the school's basketball team as they walked into the ceremony on June 8, 2013. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

    Graduating students tapped the word "Win" that is scrawled over the doorway into the gym that is a tradition of the school's basketball team as they walked into the ceremony on June 8, 2013.

    (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

  • Bow High School senior class president Anne Kuenning speaks during the graduation ceremony on June 8, 2013. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

    Bow High School senior class president Anne Kuenning speaks during the graduation ceremony on June 8, 2013.

    (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

  • Assistant principal Gay Longnecker reacts to the standing ovation she received as she took the podium at the Bow High School graduation on June 8, 2013. Longnecker, who was the keynote speaker for the ceremony, is retiring at the end of this school year. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

    Assistant principal Gay Longnecker reacts to the standing ovation she received as she took the podium at the Bow High School graduation on June 8, 2013. Longnecker, who was the keynote speaker for the ceremony, is retiring at the end of this school year.

    (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

  • Students worked on blowing up beach balls and tossing them around as their classmates received their diplomas on June 8, 2013 at the Bow High School graduation. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

    Students worked on blowing up beach balls and tossing them around as their classmates received their diplomas on June 8, 2013 at the Bow High School graduation.

    (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

  • Bow HIgh School graduation ceremony on June 8, 2013 in the school's gym. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

    Bow HIgh School graduation ceremony on June 8, 2013 in the school's gym.

    (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

  • A photo of the Bow High School class on 2013 as young children was pinned up on the wall at the school on June 8, 2013.  <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

    A photo of the Bow High School class on 2013 as young children was pinned up on the wall at the school on June 8, 2013.

    (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

  • Arun Luckoor, center, is a graduation senior who lost his father to cancer a few weeks ago. His senior project was a bone marrow registry drive inspired by his father and accomplished with the help of his classmates, who wore green bracelets at graduation to honor him. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

    Arun Luckoor, center, is a graduation senior who lost his father to cancer a few weeks ago. His senior project was a bone marrow registry drive inspired by his father and accomplished with the help of his classmates, who wore green bracelets at graduation to honor him.

    (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

  • Arun Luckoor, center, is a graduation senior who lost his father to cancer a few weeks ago. His senior project was a bone marrow registry drive inspired by his father and accomplished with the help of his classmates, who wore green bracelets at graduation to honor him. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)
  • Arun Luckoor is a graduating senior who lost his father to cancer a few weeks ago. His senior project was a bone marrow registry drive inspired by his father and accomplished with the help of his classmates, who wore green bracelets at graduation to honor him. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)
  • Bow senior DJ Voisine embraces his girlfriend Sarah Masters while hanging out in the hall before the ceremony at Bow High School on June 8, 2013. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)
  • Bow seniors Jessie Andrus and Erin Inks chat while waiting for the graduation ceremony to start at Bow High School on June 8, 2013.   <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)
  • Bow seniors play with a hackey sack while waiting to line up for their graduation ceremony at Bow High School on June 8, 2013. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)
  • Seniors, including Crystal Stahley, center, wait in anticipation before filing out into the school gym at Bow High School for their graduation on June 8, 2013. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)
  • Graduating students tapped the word "Win" that is scrawled over the doorway into the gym that is a tradition of the school's basketball team as they walked into the ceremony on June 8, 2013. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)
  • Bow High School senior class president Anne Kuenning speaks during the graduation ceremony on June 8, 2013. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)
  • Assistant principal Gay Longnecker reacts to the standing ovation she received as she took the podium at the Bow High School graduation on June 8, 2013. Longnecker, who was the keynote speaker for the ceremony, is retiring at the end of this school year. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)
  • Students worked on blowing up beach balls and tossing them around as their classmates received their diplomas on June 8, 2013 at the Bow High School graduation. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)
  • Bow HIgh School graduation ceremony on June 8, 2013 in the school's gym. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)
  • A photo of the Bow High School class on 2013 as young children was pinned up on the wall at the school on June 8, 2013.  <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)
  • Arun Luckoor, center, is a graduation senior who lost his father to cancer a few weeks ago. His senior project was a bone marrow registry drive inspired by his father and accomplished with the help of his classmates, who wore green bracelets at graduation to honor him. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

As Bow’s graduating seniors entered their ceremony, 139 identical green bracelets peeked out from under their sleeves, honoring a father who couldn’t be there and supporting the classmate who wished he was.

“Especially this past week, when I feel like a part of me is missing, seeing everyone wear these bracelets helps close that gap,” said Arun Luckoor, who graduated from Bow High School yesterday surrounded by a silent yet powerful showing of kindness from his classmates.

Luckoor’s father, Dr. Ravindra Luckoor, died May 27 after a two-year battle with a rare blood cancer.

During his father’s illness, Luckoor missed stretches of class to be by his side. When he came back from an absence last month, the bracelets engraved with “MATCH RAVI” – the name of his family’s campaign to register bone marrow donors – were worn by nearly every student and employee at the school.

The gesture should come as no surprise to those familiar with this Class of 2013.

Showing kindness in words has never been enough for them. They’ve been compelled into action over the past four years and logged more community service hours – in excess of 10,000 – than any class of comparable size.

The bracelets, which the group held into the air during the start of yesterday’s ceremony, were one of their final displays of compassion as a class.

Their last may have been when Luckoor crossed the stage to receive his diploma and the group stood, in unison, to applaud.

Principal John House-Myers said he’s seen these students show unmatched dedication to one another.

The bond among them was formed early and through tragedy, when one of their classmates, Dalton Fenn, died in eighth grade. Yesterday, along with the green bracelets, many also wore a gold “6” on their gowns, the number Fenn wore on his football jersey.

“We learned early to leave no man behind,” class president Anne Kuenning said. “We are a unit.”

She described her fellow classmates as refreshingly unique, but said they all share the same sense of civic engagement.

“We have spectacular
and generous individuals who are eager to give back,” she said. “The generosity of our class extends to those in need.”

Student Alex Evans told the group to maintain that tenacity, and encouraged those who have made excuses in the past to move forward trying to achieve their best.

“Why spend $40,000 a
year or work nine-hour days to not try?” he asked. “There is no bigger stage to perform than the one we’ve reached today.”

While the class logged more than 10,000 community service hours over the past four years, Luckoor’s friends say that number isn’t quite accurate. It would be even higher, they said, if Luckoor clocked all the time he spent registering bone marrow donors during his father’s illness.

His father was looking for a match, and in about six months the family registered 4,000 people through weekend drives Luckoor attended while finishing his senior year. He said relatives coordinated events across the country and even in India.

“I was talking to him one day and I’m like . . . ‘you must have over 1,000 (community service hours),’ ” said Kylie Iasillo, who came up with the idea for the bracelets, along with students Evan Maccani and Emily Vulgamore.

“And he told me, ‘I don’t log them anymore.’ He was like, ‘I’m just doing it because it’s in my heart, and I love to do it, and I’m fighting for my dad and my family.’ ” Iasillo said. “That’s the thing. He was obviously fighting for his dad, but he was fighting for everyone else that needed a match.”

Luckoor may have learned that humility from his father, who he said never tried to persuade people to join the registry by highlighting his own illness.

“Even when I used to say ‘Dad, people will probably be more likely to say yes if you say, “Hey, I’m dying of blood cancer,” ’ he never said that to other people,” Luckoor said. “He always encouraged them to join for other people because he knew that he wasn’t the only one.”

Luckoor is headed to Rutgers University next year to study genetics and intends to attend medical school after that, working toward a career as a doctor. He’s always considered going into the field but said it became a done deal after he watched his father struggle.

Even though the family never found his bone marrow match, Luckoor is still encouraging people to sign up for the National Marrow Donor Program at marrow.org. The $700 his classmates raised through the bracelets will also be donated to that organization.

“That will help for further testing and trying to find donor matches for other people,” he said. “So it really is amazing. Through these bracelets, not only has it really supported me and my family, but it really has the power to save lives.”

(Tricia L. Nadolny can be reached at 369-3306 or
tnadolny@cmonitor.com or on Twitter at @tricia_nadolny.)

Legacy Comments1

Dear Bow citizens, students and faculty of Bow High School, We highly appreciate and thank you for your support, empathy and heartfelt concern you have all shown during my brother's battle with cancer. No words can match to describe the invaluable community support we received. My family is always grateful and honored to be associated with the esteemed citizens of Bow. We wish all the graduating Seniors success in achieving your career and life goals and upholding the ideals and legacy of this wonderful community. With Regards Sudhindra Luckoor

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