Welcome to Aleena Arakaki's Climb to Fight Cancer Web Page

Donate to Aleena in 2022
Amount Raised
49 percent of goal achieved.
Goal: $5,000.00
Achieved: $2,440.00
Fundraising Honor Roll

My mom and I

I've dedicated my life to helping those fighting cancer. 

When I was 12, my mom, Takane Arakaki, was diagnosed with tongue cancer and given 6 months to live. As I watched her cancer advance, I became determined to learn why this disease had such devastating effects and how we could stop it. After fighting hard against the cancer, my mom passed away two years after her diagnosis. Soon after, both of my grandmothers were also diagnosed with cancer. My Obaachan, Fumiko Bohannan, refused treatment and chose palliative care due to the late stage of her pancreatic cancer. My Mm, Beulah Arakaki, triumphed through her breast cancer surgery, radiation and chemotherapy to live for another 7 years until she lost her battle when the cancer metastasized. These personal experiences have driven my passion to furthering our understanding of cancer biology with the hopes to cure more people of this disease.


Remembering my 'ohana has motivated me to do all I can in my life to help cancer patients. While I was an undergrad student at Seattle University, I worked part-time at the Fred Hutch and learned that I loved conducted life-saving scientific research. I continued my education and earned my PhD in Biomedical Sciences from UC San Diego in 2020. I decided to return to Seattle and the Fred Hutch for my postdoctoral training because of the cutting-edge and collaborative research being conducted here.


This year I was selected as the first Climb to Fight Cancer postdoc fellow. This fellowship was created through generous donations raised by the alumni of the 2019 Kilimajaro Climb to Fight Cancer expedition to support the research and professional development of young scientists from historically underrepresented groups. I am honored to have been selected for this award, which will help fund my research project focused on repurposing FDA-approved drugs for a rare childhood brain cancer, ependymoma. As part of the fellowship, I will be joining the 2022 Climb to Fight Cancer team of biotech professionals to trek to the base camp of Mt Everest! This will be an incredible opportunity for me to expand my network and advance my career. 


I would like to continue to pay-it-forward because I believe in Fred Hutch's mission to find cures while truly being an anti-racist institution- training and supporting a diverse group of scientists. Please consider giving to the Climb to Fight Cancer fundraiser by clicking the "Donate" button. Any amount you can give makes a difference to people and families facing deadly diseases. Your gift is 100 percent tax deductible and will fund extraordinary research, lifesaving discoveries, and cures. Thank you for your support!


My Climb Journal


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