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Physician’s teenage son pushes for medical research into blood cancers

Patient Story

Ali Alhaddad, son of IU Health University Hospital’s Dr. Mohammad Alhaddad, is leading a team of high school students to raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

By Maureen Gilmer, IU Health senior journalist, mgilmer1@iuhealth.org

Dr. Mohammad Alhaddad is one proud father. The IU Health University Hospital gastroenterologist has watched in appreciation as his eldest child has tackled the responsibility of raising $10,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Ali Alhaddad, a junior at Carmel High School, was tapped as an Indiana Student of the Year candidate by LLS, meaning he is leading a team of fellow students in advocating for more research of blood cancer diseases.

On his fundraising page, Ali writes that he is honored to participate in the seven-week fundraising campaign along with other high school students locally and around the country.

“I am proud to join the fight against blood cancer and am raising critical dollars in honor of Ty, a young hero who is in remission from a blood cancer, to be able to help people just like him around the world who are afflicted with life-threatening diseases.”

It might seem logical to assume that Ali plans to follow in his father’s footsteps and attend medical school, but both father and son say that’s not happening.

“Ali is more interested in engineering,” the physician said, “but he does have an inclination to help others. That makes me even a little prouder.”

The teen is active in many school clubs and has spent time volunteering at University Hospital.

To manage the campaign, which winds up March 14 with a gala in Indianapolis, Ali has taken a break from travel soccer and other activities.

“I go to bed, and he’s still up,” his father said. “When I wake up in the morning, he’s up.”

For his part, Ali said the hard work is not only teaching him good communication, marketing and business skills, it is also raising money for a good cause and throwing a little positivity back into what can seem like a bleak world.

“The Student of the Year program is a great opportunity for youth like myself to give back,” he said. “An intrinsic motivation for me … is to show people that there is still good going on in this world and it’s so close that they can join in and give back as well.”

Ali has not suffered leukemia or lymphoma, nor has anyone in his family, but he is passionate about doing his part to help those who have fought that fight or will be diagnosed with a blood disease in the future.

And that’s enough to make any parent proud.

Learn more about Ali and his LLS campaign here.

Photos submitted and by Mike Dickbernd, IU Health visual journalist, mdickbernd@iuhealth.org

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Cancer

Cancer care includes a variety of treatments, systematic therapies, surgery and clinical trials.

Gastroenterology

We offer complete diagnosis and treatment for gastrointestinal (GI) conditions and liver diseases.

Leukemia

A cancer of the blood caused by the bone marrow producing abnormal white blood cells that crowd out healthy ones.

Lymphoma

A disease in which specialized white blood cells that normally fight infection become abnormal and reproduce.