BY VEENA RAO
Atlanta, GA, May 4, 2017: Before he lost his brave battle against two types of cancer in November 2016, 22-year-old Premil Patel and his mother Prina were each other’s biggest fans.
“Premil taught me to find strength when faced with challenges. He was my inspiration to keep going and succeed,” says Prina. “He always told me that he couldn’t imagine life without me, but it turned out the other way around.”
A graduate of University of Georgia with a double major in management and finance, Premil was popular, and loved by many. Yet, his concern was always for his single mother.
“Whenever I asked him about the girls in his life, he would start talking about my life. It was pretty funny when he gave me dating advice! He told me I had always been selfless and he wanted me to live life for myself. We were friends.”
The news of Premil’s illness in 2016 was devastating to Prina. He was diagnosed with acute megakaryoblastic leukemia and germ cell tumor. He spiraled downwards fast and the end came within weeks of his diagnosis.
“He never left the ICU and once he was intubated, he never spoke again. I didn’t get to hear his side of the story- how he felt, what he wanted,” says Prina. “This was hard on me, but I can’t imagine how hard it was on him.”
She told him she loved him everyday. When the doctor told them of a tumor near his heart, and that Premil would get worse before he got better, he was momentarily scared. But within a few minutes, he regained his strength.
“He started talking about his work and career. Even the day I took him to hospital, all he was thinking about was his work. He said he didn’t want to take the whole day off and he would go back after the check up. He was focused; he had lots of dreams.”
Premil had recently started working at Deloitte with the hopes of pursuing an MBA.
Prina is now driven by Premil’s memory to participate in a fundraising campaign for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Man or Woman of the Year. She is part of team #oneinaPREMILlion and is working to raise as much as possible in a 10-week period. Every dollar raised counts as one vote and the candidate who gets the most votes/raises the most money is named the Man or Woman of the Year. With the funds raised, she hopes to support a grant for research in honor of Premil.
“My goal is to raise awareness about cancer, especially AML and germ cell tumors. Cancer diagnoses can be very tough. It took 3 weeks to figure out what my son had, and even when we knew, there was almost nothing that could be done for him. Cancer is beyond devastating and affects all ages. I want to help prevent another person from suffering and prematurely passing away because we don’t yet have a cure for this horrible illness. Everyone wins when cancer loses.”
“I know Premil would have wanted to do everything to prevent another person from enduring pain and suffering,” she says, of her motivation her to come out and support the fundraiser. “I am a mother trying to help other mothers.”
Premil continues to drive Prina to keep going each day. “I have learned from my son to live each day as if it were your last because that’s how he lived his life. Some days are pretty hard, but my family and his friends are helping me. Premil made our family bond even stronger. For all his cousins and his fraternity brothers I became “Prina Mom”. He gave me all these kids, because he knew I couldn’t live without him.”
To support Prina Patel’s fundraising efforts, please visit: http://www.mwoy.org/pages/ga/atlanta17/ppatel