In memory: Mother-son duo carry forward a legacy in acts of kindness
Bengaluru resident Mayank Agarwal was a loved son, brother and friend, who almost never thought twice when it came to helping those in need. Be it to provide monetary assistance or emotional support, he was always ready. So when he succumbed to Covid-19 in late April, at the age of 29, his family decided to pick up the mantle and take his legacy forward.
“Mayank would help anyone and everyone who asked for it. He would go long distances to feed the homeless, take care of stray dogs among so many other things. When we went to immerse his ashes, the priest told us to remember him by all the things that he loved. So we started the Mayank Agarwal Memorial Fund in his memory,” says Varun Agarwal, Mayank’s elder brother, who runs the fund along with his mother Purnima. Together the two raise money to help low income families in the city, who have been affected by the pandemic. “We act as facilitators, and connect donors directly to the recipient’s bank account, so there is no delay from our end,” adds Varun.
The fund raises money for three purposes and conducts a due diligence before starting a fundraiser. “Through various fundraising platforms, we aim to collect ₹2.5 lakh for each family, and have so far helped 25 families foot exorbitant hospital bills by raising ₹50 lakh. We also provide meals to the homeless around the city through Project Seva, run by Shreyas Reddy, and have served 12,000 meals till date. We promote all our campaigns on social media, and I never imagined that such a large hearted response would come our way,” says Purnima, adding, “Mayank always wanted a daughter. So in his memory we’ve partnered with an NGO Collective Consciousness to distribute sanitary pads to 1500 underprivileged girls for an entire year.”
Bengaluru resident Shiva Kumar’s family is one of the 25 families that the memorial fund has helped. Kumar tested positive for Covid-19 and pneumonia. Rahul, Shiva’s son, says, “We got a test done, and initially my father turned out to be Covid negative. But soon after we learnt through a CT scan that one of his lungs was completely damaged and what we were thinking was just pneumonia was actually Covid-19. I’m an artist and musician, and the pandemic has dwindled our savings to nothing. When I took my father for his tests, I had a mere ₹3,500 in my account and had to ask friends for money to tide over the rising bills of the hospital. Then a friend put me in touch with Varun, who helped raise over ₹2 lakh for my father’s treatment. Dad is home today and doing better, and nothing I say will be enough to express my gratitude to this team of angels!”