VISAGHAN Shanta Mohan took it upon himself to fulfil the last wish of a family friend – to raise funds for palliative care.
What started as a conversation about helping others between Visaghan and his mother, Shivanee Selvaratnam, 45, culminated in a fundraiser through the screening of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker at a cinema in Kuala Lumpur.
“We discussed the different ways to help others.
“I thought, ‘Why not hold a screening of Star Wars?’ It has a huge fan base, ” said Visaghan, 17, who is also a huge fan.
With that idea in mind, the first thing he decided was to channel all proceeds to Hospis Malaysia, which had provided palliative care to the family friend who inspired the fundraiser.
“Uncle K. Jegadeva was my parents’ neighbour who became a family friend.
“He has always been a father figure to us.
“He used to describe his palliative care nurses as ‘angels on Earth’ because they helped him live comfortably in his final days, ” said Visaghan, the older of two siblings.
The teenager who enjoys swimming and participating in debate competitions, admitted that he did not know that the family friend was ill.
“Uncle Jegadeva had cancer but I did not know until my mother told me.
“He showed no signs of weakness and was very strong.
“Before he passed away four months ago, he planned on raising funds for Hospis Malaysia but unfortunately, time was not on his side.
“He was moved by the nurses’ efforts to help people and how they make them feel comfortable, ” Visaghan said.
Armed with determination, the teenager and his family roped in Brickfields Asia College, which sponsored the venue for the fundraiser.
“Securing a venue sponsor means lower cost and therefore, more money will be channelled to Hospis Malaysia. We are thankful.
“My mother says that with the right mind, anything is possible, ” he said when asked if organising his first fundraiser was challenging.
In September, Visaghan and his family started selling the movie tickets by word-of-mouth and through WhatsApp groups. They managed to sell more than 250 movie tickets.
“We were only seven to nine tickets short of a sell-out tonight.
“There were also people who could not attend but bought the tickets and gave them to underprivileged children so that the children too, could enjoy the movie, ” said Visaghan before the movie started.
He added that the fundraiser would not have been possible without the help of his parents.
“My mother, a mediator and social entrepreneur, was with me the whole time and I am truly grateful.
“My father, also a Star Wars fan, has always been an inspiration because he never hesitates to go the extra mile to help others, ” he said, adding that his brother, Pravana Shanta Mohan, also helped out.
Visaghan hopes to set up a trust fund called “Jegadeva Fund” soon to help more charitable organisations.
“I hope to be able to set up the fund soon. Of course, I will need my parents’ help with this as well, ” he said, noting that they raised RM27,000 for Hospis Malaysia.
“Through this fundraiser, I have learned a lot about event management and more importantly, about palliative care.
“I hope to be able to continue raising funds for good causes in the future, ” he said.
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