August 26, 2010
Sejal and Mayank Gala created the Ishan Gala Foundation in their son's honor, saying there's no better way to celebrate their son's life than by fighting the disease that took it.
Since the formation of the Ishan Gala Foundation to Fight Neuroblastoma, there's been a benefit concert, a golf tournament and the Splash for a Cure pool party, held around the time Ishan would have turned 3 years old.
"I don't think it ever gets easier," Mayank Gala said. "I think you just find new ways of dealing with the pain."
As Ishan's birthday again approaches, the Galas admit the ache doesn't disappear.
"You always wonder, what would he be doing right now? He'd be talking, he'd be running, he'd be playing," Gala said.
The Galas constantly shift the focus from their pain to their passion.
"Awareness leads to funding and funding leads to a cure," Gala said.
Through fundraising events, they've raised about $100,000. Ishan's friend, Michael Toman, stepped up by collecting and crushing soda cans for cash.
"I've asked a lot of friends to save them for me, and I've raised over $200," Toman said. "I don't want anyone else to lose a friend like I did, because it hurts really bad.
A pain perhaps most difficult for a mother to bear.
"When I had Ishan, I knew I was meant to me a mom," Sejal Gala said.
Come December, she'll have another opportunity.
"We were very overwhelmed to find out this was another boy," Sejal Gala said. "We feel a lot of God's mercy in that, of course."
"There was a lot of joy, but a lot of memories tied to that feeling, but we're very excited," Mayank Gala said.
This week's heroes use the Ishan Gala Foundation to fund a fight against a deadly disease and to let a big brother's legacy live on.
The second-annual Splash for a Cure is this Saturday, Aug. 28, at the ACAC Water Park. The doors open at 5 p.m., and the event ends at 9 p.m. There will be live music, a DJ and lots of food from vendors like Chick-fil-A, Papa John's, Starbucks and Pepsi. There will also be a raffle, with prizes including a year's membership to ACAC, a 50-inch plasma television and a vacation.
All funds raised from the event will go to the foundation.