Jennifer Pham

Family Walks in Memory of Loved One and Her Lifelong Charitable Work
Never smoked a day in her life, diagnosed with lung cancer, passes in just weeks

Anna Chau Thi Tran raised her eight children as a single mother and spent decades volunteering her time, energy and resources for good causes. Though she never smoked a day in her life, she was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer earlier this year and only seven short weeks later passed away. 

“Although my mother worked her entire life, either to raise us [her children] or for her charity work, she never once complained about it. Despite how weak or tired she was, she never stop working,” said Jennifer Pham from Skokie, Ill., a pediatric/neonatal clinical pharmacist at the University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System, about her mother, Anna.

About 10 years after Anna’s family migrated to the US, her husband was released from prison (he was a prisoner of the Vietnam War) and reunited with them. Still, for more than 25 years, Anna helped a Vietnamese Catholic Church every day by preparing food to be sold every weekend in fundraising efforts. One of her biggest efforts was raising funds to help the poor, churches and orphanages in Vietnam. She raised funds build two churches. After visiting an orphanage in Vietnam, she decided to raise funds for them yearly. Unfortunately, she now won’t make a 2016 planned visit to the orphanage.

But, in addition to raising almost $2,000 for the Lung Association’s LUNG FORCE Walk in Oak Brook, Ill., Team Tran continued their loved one’s charity work and were unwilling to let Tran’s efforts go undone. “In her honor, we decided to donate all of the funeral memorial funds to the orphanage. We donated almost $14,000. This is something that my family and I will continue through her mission. I also promised her that I will visit the orphanage when I next visit Vietnam,” said Pham, who is also a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois College of Pharmacy. 

Team Tran walked in full force at the LUNG FORCE Walk, more than 30 in all walking and volunteering. “What I really like about these events is that we are all here for the same cause which is to support those that are unfortunately affected by lung cancer but also to increase awareness and raise money for research for both treatment and preventative care,” said Pham. 

“I wanted my children to understand the importance of these events. My daughter, Sophia also volunteered working at a volunteer table. She really enjoyed it!”

Though it was their first Lung Association event, when asked if they’ll participate in future Lung Association, Pham responded, “Absolutely! I love seeing the spirits in everyone, all here together for one cause. Furthermore, so many people approached me after I told the story about mom, sharing their stories and giving me hugs. It really touched me.”

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