Nikhil Badlani Remembered with Foundation, Sept. Fundraiser, and Books Galore

Ways to donate and participate to memorialize the sixth grader

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 motor-vehicle accident in South Orange on June 11, 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. (A link on the South Orange website provides details about how to donate.) 

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 foundation’s first fundraiser, which is also intended to build awareness, is a walk/run scheduled for Sept. 18 at West Orange High School.

“We are hoping to see many people who knew Nikhil there,” says Badlani. 


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