At an age when most children are straddling the threshold between turbulent teenage and naïve childhood, Arav Hak is an exception. This Mumbaikar, who is in class VII, is a role model for adults and children alike.
Arav, who moved to Mumbai from the US in 2015, had a life-changing experience when his mother took him to celebrate Diwali with children suffering from cancer. There he underwent a catharsis so much so that he understood the value of the blessings in life. He was so moved by the resilience of children battling the terminal illness that he wanted to do something to alleviate their pain.
Thus, he started visiting Dr. Ernest Borges Memorial Home, where he befriended Aditya, a cricket enthusiast. Cancer had taken a toll on him, both physically and emotionally, and Arav decided to cheer him up by arranging for a VIP ticket to an IPL match. The boundless joy on the boy’s face lit a spark in Arav.
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To bring a smile to suffering children, Arav began collecting money. He started with his mother’s contacts and friends and soon found himself receiving contributions from unknown benefactors. By balancing studies and fund-raising, the teenager has managed to raise Rs 7.82 lakh for underprivileged children through the Nargis Dutt Cancer Foundation in the past three and a half months. “This is just a drop in the ocean for the amount that is actually needed to help these children,” he says with a smile.
Arav and his mother also organized a screening of the movie ‘Moana’ for 100 children suffering from cancer. He draws inspiration from kids who bravely cope with the after effects of the disease such as loss of limbs.
With a maturity that belies his age, Arav advises his peers to find a cause close to their hearts and pursue it mindless of obstacles. He also reminds them to find ways to donate to noble causes rather than spend money on entertainment alone.
The young Samaritan is now eyeing the Standard Charted Mumbai Marathon (in the Dream Run category) to raise awareness for his cause.
The cause has not ended for Arav, who is determined to do his bit for the world and has proved that there is no right age to start doing the right thing.
Compassion and empathy can be ignited even in teenage minds and Arav will inspire youngsters across the country.
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