Akash Dube, a 19-year-old freshman from Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, died Friday, May 11, due to complications from acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). The Arroyo resident spent most of winter and spring quarter in Stanford Hospital and the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas.
“He was a really strong, really enthusiastic, extremely resilient kid,” said Lena Potts ’12, Dube’s resident assistant in Arroyo. “He was a huge member of this community, even though he was only here for a few months.”
Dozens of friends posted on Dube’s Facebook page following news of his passing, expressing their gratitude for being able to get to know him.
“I have always been so amazed by the way you care for other people and the way you take such genuine interest in the lives and feelings of others,” wrote Austin Block ’15. “It’s so easy to see why we all love you.”
“You were never here for only one quarter, Akash. You’ve been here ever since the fall, as a part of the Arroyo family, and will always be in our hearts,” said Janhavi Vartak ’15.
Even after his leukemia returned, Potts said Dube remained upbeat.
“He was still strong. He was the same little Akash; he was still strong and hopeful,” she said. “He always really believed [in himself]. That was one of the best things about him.”
“When I saw Akash in the hospital he was not only smiling and optimistic, but his primary concern was to make sure that I was entertained and not hungry,” said Adam Goldberg ’15, a fellow Arroyo resident. “If you’re battling cancer, and you’re preoccupied with the comfort of your guests, it really just speaks to how amazing of a person you are.”
Diagnosed his senior year of high school, Dube organized the Terry Fox Charity Run in Chennai, India, in 2009. Dube went to schools in Chennai and urged students to run, in addition to sharing his own experience with cancer. The race, which takes place in locations all over the world, helps raise funds for cancer research.
The Arroyo lounge now hosts a memorial to Dube, and a whiteboard features written memories from Arroyo residents and friends of Dube surrounding photos of the freshman.