C-U campus vigil remembers Thawaney’s life

The student group Colleges Against Cancer held a vigil Thursday night for Amit Thawaney, a student who lost his battle to cancer over spring break.

Around 100 students attended the vigil.

Syed Kausar, freshman in LAS, said he knew people who were attending from the Ghungroo Dance Company, an Indian dance group, and thought the vigil would be a good way for everyone to come together. Thawaney was a member of the Indian Student Association on campus.

Thawaney was 21 years old and a junior in LAS when he lost his battle to a very rare form of esophageal cancer. Thawaney left campus last November upon learning that he was sick. He passed away on March 25.

Thawaney was no stranger to cancer, having battled it on four separate occasions. Thawaney suffered from leukemia and bone cancers during his life; the esophageal cancer was not related to either of these cases.

Ruthvik Basavaraj, junior in LAS and Thawaney’s childhood friend, opened the vigil talking about Thawney’s admirable qualities.

“All he wanted was happiness,” Basavaraj said.

He said Thawaney never gave up on him and was the best friend he ever had. He told stories about how he encouraged him to be social both in middle school and high school. Basavaraj added that Thawaney never gave up on himself, and his inner strength was his best quality.

Thawaney was known for being a strong academic student as well as being involved in many extracurriculars. He had started to apply to pharmacy schools in the hopes of being part of the medical community.

Thawaney was also a member of Alpha Iota Omicron, a fraternity dedicated to helping men find success in a changing global society.

Other students in attendance told stories about Thawaney about his thoughtful and friendly personality. Basavaraj said he was truly blessed to have met someone like Thawaney.

Caitlin Griffin, member of Colleges Against Cancer and senior in Business, also spoke at the vigil. “His illness never defined him,” she said.

Griffin said that Thawaney served on the leadership team for Colleges Against Cancer and is the reason they were able to organize and have some of their events.

She said that Thawaney truly led by an example.

“He lived every day like it was his last,” she said.

Thawney’s life will also be celebrated at this year’s Relay for Life on April 23rd.