[Editor's note: This story first published Aug. 14.]
"STOP for Nikhil" starts at 10 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 18. The first annual STOP for Nikhil 5K Run/Walk, and 1.5K fun run, will take place at West Orange High School. The day's events begin with a ceremony at 9:30 a.m.; the ran/walk is at 10 a.m. All proceeds go to the Nikhil Badlani Foundation to help children pursue their dreams in music and academics and to raise awareness for traffic safety. Registration is open; see below for details and to download a form.
When was accepted into the Essex County Symphony Junior, the sixth grade trumpet player was overjoyed. At the same time, recalls his mother, Sangeeta Badlani, Nikhil wondered if the opportunity to study music was available to all local children; symphony students take private lessons, which he knew to be costly.
It made sense then, says Badlani, to remember her son, who was killed in a , by sharing music and opportunities with others. Badlani explains that the family is in the early stages of establishing a foundation in Nikhil’s honor; its focuses are providing music instruction; benefiting the West Orange Scholarship Fund; and educating locals about traffic safety.
Music was important to Nikhil, explains his mother. At the in June, music teacher Ryan Krewer worked with the band students to record an original composition he wrote following Nikhil's death. The students rehearsed all morning Friday, giving up participating in the school's end of the year talent show. After hours of rehearsal, the students recorded a performance of the song "Forever Friends," dedicated to their fallen classmate and star trumpeter. The song was played during the memorial.
“We hope to benefit underserved children in West Orange and neighboring communities,” explains Badlani, describing the foundation’s goals. “Music was very important to Nikhil.”
He was also an avid reader, and the West Orange Public Library has collected donations that will fund an entire section of young adult books. “They have had so many donations,” explains Badlani, “that the library is establishing a dedicated area for the books.” Each book purchased through the fund has a special bookplate and can include the donor’s name.
The walk/run has already seen a number of registrants.
“We are hoping to see many people who knew Nikhil there,” says Badlani.
ONLINE, click here.
Pick up the registration forms from the West Orange Board of Ed, The West Orange Public Library and Town Hall or download HERE.
Please make all contributions to the foundations payable to: Nikhil Badlani Foundation
Please mail Registration forms and checks to:
24 Florence Place
West Orange, NJ 07052.
For any questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org