Mayank and Sejal Gala IBOs since 1993 | Emerald In 2008, Ishan Gala celebrated his second birthday in the hospital. The next day, his parents’ hearts were broken when doctors
told them, “There is nothing more we can do.” Eight short days later, their beloved little boy passed away.
Ishan’s battle started eight months earlier when he was diagnosed with Stage IV neuroblastoma, a childhood cancer most common in children under five. His parents, Mayank and Sejal, fought hard alongside him.
“After one week in Sloan-Kettering, I knew that helping these children fight cancer was what we were supposed to do with the rest of our lives,” Mayank said. “I think that everyone has a calling, they just have to figure out what it is.” During the long months of Ishan’s illness, Mayank was optimistic about the future, always imagining Ishan working with him, offering hope to other children with the disease.
But his optimism faded when they took Ishan home for the last time, as Mayank wrote in an essay about his son.
The hospital arranged for an ambulance …
I remember that ride home. We still believed with all of our heart that Ishan would be OK. We arrived home and it seemed like this wasn’t real. Just a short time ago, we were playing in his playroom, sitting reading a book, dancing to music, kicking the ball in the driveway, and now he was being brought in on a stretcher, connected to oxygen … Hospice was there. The medical supply company was there. I felt like it was chaos. I just wanted everyone to leave and for us to be a normal family. Ishan spent three days at home. You could tell he was tired. He kept pointing at different parts of the room as if there was an angel waiting to take him home. He was pulling at his tubes as if he was letting us know that he no longer needed them.
With Ishan’s death, the Galas’ desire to help other children with cancer only intensified. Just one month later, Mayank and Sejal established The Ishan Gala Foundation to support neuroblastoma research.
Throughout Ishan’s illness, the Galas were by his side. “We were able to spend every single day of the two years and nine days of Ishan’s life with him,” says Mayank. The Gala’s had worked hard in the years before their son’s illness to develop an AMWAY business that offered them the flexibility to order their priorities and focus on their son when they needed to.
Now, Mayank says, the business lets him pursue his new passion: fighting the disease that took Ishan. “I didn’t even know that kids got cancer until this happened to my son,” he says. “Now my idea of perfect happiness is to make sure that no parent ever hears what we heard … that nothing more can be done.”