Many celebrated Archawin Nimanong as an individual of selflessness and determination. Whether he was playing endless hours of lacrosse on UC Santa Barbara’s Division I team or ordering a flower bouquet for his mother from his hospital bed on Mother’s Day, Archawin was a student, friend, partner, brother and son with love to give and passions to share. 

Archawin is remembered as a student, friend, partner, brother and son with love to give and passions to share. Courtesy of Michael Tichenor

Following his diagnosis in 2020, the fourth-year statistics and data science major passed away in December 2022 from acute myeloid leukemia and respiratory infections. 

Fourth-year biology major Michael Tichenor said he first met Archawin in a mutual class in fifth grade and instantly clicked with him after being sat at the same table. A 12-year friendship between the pair bloomed from that first interaction. 

“We just clicked,” Tichenor said. “He was just somebody that was really easy to get along with. He was just that type of person, super friendly.”

Tichenor recalled Archawin’s love for Star Wars and art growing up, saying that aside from sports and school, Star Wars was a major point of conversation. 

“I always knew him as a big Star Wars fan; he was very passionate about that,” he said. 

 Archawin was known by others, however, as a lover and player of lacrosse. Introduced to the sport in middle school, he demonstrated a knack for the sport and continued to play through college. His mother Bell Nimanong recalled how Archawin started his athletic career. 

“I asked [him] if he wanted to play something more well known, like basketball or soccer, but he said no and that he liked lacrosse,” Bell Nimanong said. “So I said OK, go for it. And he kept playing, and he did so well.” 

Trying out for the lacrosse team at Glendale High School in Southern California led to Archawin playing the sport more consistently, exemplifying his work ethic and dedication to his passions, Tichenor said.

“He was always a hard worker … he was just a beast athletically,” Tichenor said. “He could just run circles around people. He was that guy; he was a prodigy.”

Archawin’s talent for lacrosse earned him a placement in the top 30 lacrosse players in California in high school — the first player from Glendale High School to earn such a ranking, according to Bell Nimanong. He received various recruitment offers and scholarships, all of which he turned down to attend Glendale Community College (GCC). 

“He [attended] the community college so that he can help me save money,” his mother said. “He wanted to go to GCC and then transfer later.” 

Archawin received an offer to play on UCSB’s Division I men’s lacrosse team in 2021, persevering through his leukemia diagnosis from the year prior. 

“It was just something he tried out one day for fun, and it just really stuck to him because he just had a natural gift for it,” Tichenor said. “He just continued doing what he loved.” 

Beyond lacrosse — and video gaming with his friends — Archawin had a lifelong passion for history, excitedly talking about various periods of history to his patient mother growing up and dreaming about becoming a history professor.

Archawin’s girlfriend, UC Irvine graduate student Sneha Menon, said he gave up his initial career goal to study data science at UCSB in order to support his family’s financial needs following graduation but retained a history minor to continue studying the subject he cherished throughout his life. 

“He had taken it upon himself as the oldest son in his family to become the person who can provide for his parents,” Menon said. “He gave up his initial dream to be the breadwinner of his family. But he didn’t want to sacrifice everything about himself … by keeping the minor and making sure he still was doing something that he loved.” 

Archawin was constantly concerned about the financial state of his family, working some summers at his mother’s local diner prior to the family business closing at  the onset of COVID-19. Bell Nimanong spoke about her son’s work ethic while helping his mother at the diner. 

“With everything that he does, he does it at his best no matter what,” Bell Nimanong said. “He never says no … He is so good. He works so hard.” 

Menon spoke to the wide variety of jobs Archawin worked while keeping up with lacrosse and his studies, including becoming a product development intern, an Airbnb property manager and an assistant coach on the lacrosse team at a local high school. 

“He was a really impressive person that was working multiple jobs during the summer and furthering his career for himself and for his family and for his future,” Menon said. “He accomplished so much in such little time, [even teaching] himself to code in a matter of six months.” 

Above all, Archawin always prioritized his family, sending his mother half of his first paycheck at his most recent job in property management two to three months prior to his passing. 

“I told him to keep it because I know that he’s going to want to spend [it] on something, but he said, ‘No, this is the first paycheck, I want to give it to you,’” Bell Nimanong said. “He’s so generous. He loves family so much, everything about me, his dad and his brother.”

Menon said a driving force in Archawin’s life was his generosity and care for others, always prioritizing his loved ones over his own needs. 

“He was gentle. He treated everything and everyone like they each were special things that needed their own level of care,” Menon said. “He understood what that meant for each person or tried to understand what that meant for each person.”

She recalled Archawin spending all his spare time focused on his family, friends and her, saying that his loved ones were always his first priority. 

“He is the most respectable son, the best son I think any Asian parent could ask for,” she said. “He looked out for his parents all the time and looked out for his little brother.” 

Even as his condition worsened, Archawin continued to retain a positive outlook on life. 

Menon said she was most proud of him “for not losing himself during everything that he was going through. 

“This entire thing was super unfair to him, but he kept a positive outlook no matter what,” Menon said.  

That positivity fed into his respect and honor for others, Tichenor said, saying kindness rang in everything he did and everyone he interacted with. 

“He was always a man of the people,” Tichenor said. “He was very conscientious, very kind to everybody.” 

Even in his hospital bed as his sickness continued to worsen, Archawin was a favorite amongst the nurses, showing kindness to the hospital staff and attempting to take care of himself in any capacity despite being bedridden. 

“[The nurses] would always fight over him because he is polite. He tried to do everything by himself,” Bell Nimanong said. 

Beyond his selflessness, Archawin had the ability to bring people together. Tichenor recalled an annual tradition Archawin started with Tichenor and their friend group to paint on an abandoned mural at the start of every year. 

“It was a free mural pretty much where you can just paint wherever you want, and we would go there every year,” Tichenor said. “It was always about camaraderie with him.” 

Tichenor emphasized how much his friendship with Archawin meant to him and the lessons of resilience and kindness he’s learned from their time together. 

“He was just always looking to help people, always looking to improve somebody’s life, somebody’s well-being,” he continued. “I think everyone can learn from that to just be more appreciative of everything and of your loved ones. I think that’s something he held very dear to him.” 

Tichenor described his last interaction with Archawin, saying there was much to say with too little time. 

“I did get to FaceTime him on his last night. He was unconscious and his girlfriend was holding the phone, but I could talk to him,” Tichenor said. “I just wanted to tell him how much he meant to me.” 

Menon wished Archawin rest after his two-year journey of illness and conveyed pride for his resilience.

“He did a good job fighting for so long, and I’m always going to be proud of him,” Menon said. “Now he can finally rest.” 

Bell Nimanong expressed immense pride for the impact Archawin has made on countless lives, saying his love and care for others has inspired many others to follow suit. 

“I’m proud of everything, the way he is,” Bell Nimanong said. 

Individuals can donate to Archawin’s GoFundMe to support his family with residual medical fees and funeral fees. 

A version of this article appeared on p. 3  of the Jan. 26, 2023, print edition of the Daily Nexus.


Asumi Shuda
Asumi Shuda (they/them) is the Lead News Editor for the 2023-24 school year. Previously, Shuda was the Deputy News Editor, Community Outreach News Editor for the 2022-23 school year and the 2021-22 school year and an Assistant News Editor during the 2020-21 school year. They can be reached at or