Plano East Students Create Nonprofit to Fight Cancer | #students | #parents

Sanjana Pemmaraju and Ronak Shah are rising seniors at Plano East Senior High School. In their lives, they have both been affected by the harsh realities of cancer. Because of that, together they started a nonprofit organization called Creativity for Cancer (CFC). Through CFC, they host creative and engaging events that fundraise for the American Cancer Society.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Sanjana and Ronak have sought to use CFC as a way to not only aid cancer research and treatment but also to bring joy and positivity to people across Plano in a time when it’s needed. One of their first fundraising efforts as a nonprofit was hosting an art competition in which every $5 entry fee went directly to the American Cancer Society.

Ronak Shah (at left) and Sanjana Pemmaraju created Creativity for Cancer to fundraise for American Cancer Society // photo Hunter Lacey

Out of the entries to the competition, four winners were chosen. Joseph Fung, a student at Plano East Senior High School, won the digital art category for his Photoshop creation, “Transfiguration.” The message he hoped to share with his art piece is that beauty can emerge from difficult situations and adversity.

"Transfiguration" by Joseph Fung
“Transfiguration” by Joseph Fung

Zarine Kumar, a Plano resident, won the painting category for her piece, “Lady in Red.” Zarine said her inspiration was the mantra “Don’t look back on past failures.”

"Lady in Red" by Zarine Kumar
“Lady in Red” by Zarine Kumar

Riya Verma, a student at Booker T. Washington High School, won the physical art category for her drawing, “Coffee Shop on a Sunday.” She said she created the piece because going to coffee shops is calming for her, and one of her favorite things to do.

"Coffee Shop on a Sunday" by Riya Verma
“Coffee Shop on a Sunday” by Riya Verma

Arjun Jagada, a student at Plano East Senior High School, won the photography category for his piece “Sleep?” He shared, “The picture depicts a busy city that never sleeps, and serves as a testament to my personality with bold colors, masked by clouds of mystery.”

"Sleep?" by Arjun Jagada
“Sleep?” by Arjun Jagada

All of the artists who entered the competition were given an opportunity to find rest through art, away from the stressors of living through a pandemic, and to raise money to support cancer research and treatment.

“This art competition was our first event, but we are planning online trivia nights and a basketball tournament for everyone to participate in once it is safe enough,” Sanjana shared.

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