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Teen author Nirav Udupa recognised for overcoming odds

Udupa received helping hand from Make-A-Wish Greater Bay Area to achieve his dream of writing his own book

Vice Mayor of San Ramon City Council, Mark Armstrong with Nirav Udupa and VP of of Programs for Make-A-Wish. Image - Twitter/ Mark Armstrong 

Indian American teenager Nirav Udupa, who authored a book titled “The Rise of the Wild Cards” on his battle with cancer was awarded special recognition by the Vice Mayor of San Ramon City Council, Mark Armstrong at a City Council Meeting, earlier this month.

Udupa, who wanted to be an author from the age of 6, wrote his book with the help of Make-A-Wish Bay Area. Make-A-Wish is a voluntary service group that helps children with critical illnesses achieve their biggest wishes.

According to the organization, Udupa was diagnosed with cancer in 2020 and during treatment, he spent most of his time thinking about ideas for his future book. “When he was too tired from his treatments to write, he’d convey his ideas to his mom to write down. When he was too tired to speak, his mom would read to him from his favourite mystery novels to pass the time,” the organization said in describing his journey.

Nirav with family members and friends at book launch. Image - Make-A-Wish Greater Bay Area

Make-A-Wish roped in Dallas Graham, a founder and executive director of the Red Fred Project Foundation, a nonprofit that provides writing and publishing assistance for children with rare diseases to help Udupa complete his book.

"Nirav was so excited to see the book,"Shital, Udupa’s mother was quoted as saying.“When it finally came in the mail. Nirav read the whole thing that same night! I was so excited too because he kept most of the book a surprise from his dad and me. I couldn't wait to read it. I was so proud.”