Thank you for your overwhelming support at our 3rd Annual Fundraising Gala (Virtual) for DIPG Research
Report from Sana Jayavarapu , volunteer
The night felt as if it were in person and we were dancing the night away next to the greatest guests posible. Though interaction was only through a screen, the gala was heartwarming and an enjoyable event during the holiday season. With great tunes, speeches, and people, the night zoomed by and was definitely coordinated by Mithil.
Starting the night of strong, Rachna Prasad, Mithil’s sister and the vice president of our foundation, welcomed us all and began the event as the MC. We discussed the agenda for the night and she introduced the inspiring Jace Ward. With Jace on spotlight, he introduced himself, thanking us all for being here, and brought up our star of the night, Mr. Mithil Prasad. We continued with the touching story of Mithil, containing beautiful pictures from his life and depicting his spirit.
Upon learning of the story of Mithil, everyone tried to contain their tears. Continuing the night, Tanya Gupta and her angelic voice took the whole crowd by surprise. With no formal training, she stole the show with her performance of “Kaisi Paheli” and “Enna Sona.” Her talent is brilliant and brought chills to every single person in the audience.
Dr. Muller, a neurologist, pediatrician, neuro-oncologist, and our wonderful guest speaker of the night, blew us away with her knowledge and information on pediatric brain tumors and DMG. She informed us of previous, current, and up and coming studies going on in these areas and gave us hope for the future. Continuing on the idea of progress, Noah Bopp took over with the DC Summit. His experience at the summit brought more hope for the next stages of fighting DIPG and pediatric brain tumors.
Taking it back to Jace, he taught us about his current struggle with DIPG. He and his mom Lisa Ward talked about how, though they felt completely discouraged, they weren’t going to waste a single moment of their time left with Jace. They argued for the rights of their medical data and continue to advocate for the DIPG community. Lisa followed their work and soon handed the mike over to LEMO.
LEMO had everyone swaying from the comfort of their homes with his original songs. His amazing voice and swift guitar skills entertained the crowd and had them hooked for the entire show.
James Goodwin and Coach Elias jumped into the two rounds of raffles, which had everyone on the edge of their seats. With crossed fingers, people won prizes like airpods and trips to the grand canyon (for after COVID-19 of course!) We also finished with a grand prize of a $500 apple gift card.
Next up was the moving video from DIPG Families. The video contained many families from all over the world sharing their stories with DIPG and wishing us a wonderful holiday season. The love in the video was overwhelming and encouraging.
With intriguing facts, Nick Vitanza spoke to the audience next. He explained DIPG research going on and the different steps to completing research. His talk also entailed details of grants and how much outside donations help complete more research. The more donations, the faster a cure can be found!
Our great drummer, Prisha Lokesh, soon entranced everyone with her out of this world drumming talent! Despite being so young, her skills caught everyone’s attention as she played like a professional! For the final portion of the event, Nishanth and Madhu of Raga and Blues had the crowd asking for more with their jazzy twists of some classic hindi songs. For their final tribute to Mithil, Nishanth mesmerized the crowd as always by singing Mithil’s song, “Kal Ho Na Ho”, with Madhu playing bass. They sang and played their way through the rest of the night, bringing an amazing end to an amazing event.
The night came to a close just as it began: with wonderful people and high hopes. With all your support, we reached our fundraising goal of the night. Thank you to everyone for helping make the gala and this foundation what it is today. A final big happy birthday to Mithil!