When Mumbai-resident Arav Hak was featured on Humans of Bombay, a popular social media page that spoke about how he is helping children suffering from cancer, the post went viral. Thousands from the online community praised him for his efforts. Since then, Arav says he has raised Rs 9.72 lakh, arranged a movie screening for sick children, and is all set to run the Standard Charted Mumbai Marathon (in the Dream Run category) to raise more awareness for his cause.
And his future plans don’t end there.
A student of Class 7, Arav says that he was touched by the outpouring of support he received from people over the past month. He says, “To have that many people appreciate what I did was really awesome. Many have called since to find out how they can donate money. We were able to raise an additional two lakhs since the post,” he notes.
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The money he is collecting will go towards the Nargis Dutt Cancer Foundation, an organisation that provides assistance for treatment of cancer patients from underprivileged backgrounds. It is also an organisation that his mother has been working with.
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It has been six months since Arav decided to spend his free time on the cause and he has learned some tricks along the way to manage school-work. “The first two months when I was trying to raise money were especially hectic. I would do my school work and my home work in the bus and then when I would get home, I would head out to meet people to get them to contribute.”
He started with his mother’s contacts and family friends and worked his way from there. Even now he is judicious with his time and tries to balance schoolwork with his charitable efforts.
For this young man, it isn’t just about raising funds; he also derives the inspiration to continue his work from children he has met along the way. Recently, Arav and his mother organised a screening of the movie Moana for 100 children. “There is one boy I met called Anubhav, who has cancer and it had spread to his leg. The doctors had to amputate it but the way he had gotten through that ordeal and the kind of strength he showed afterward has really inspired me,” Arav adds.
For now, he is focused on running the 6 km Dream Run at the SCMM. “I have not really prepared for it specifically but at school we do a lot of running as part of soccer practice and that will help.”
He also has sound advice for other kids who want to spearhead their own causes; his advice is to find something one is passionate about. “You should not give up too easily. There will be many people who will tell you ‘no’. But that’s your cue to go and find more people who will say ‘yes’ and contribute.”
One can contribute to Arav’s campaign here