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5K Walk, Run Keeps West Orange Boy's Memory Alive

Fourth annual event held in memory of Nikhil Badlani, an 11-year-old boy who was killed by a distracted driver in 2011.

Nikhil Badlani (Contributed photo)
Nikhil Badlani (Contributed photo)
The following was a submitted release:

Sangeeta Badlani finds solace knowing that someone now sees the world through her son’s eyes.

“He always saw the good in the world. He saw the world as beautiful,” she said.  “We are happy that someone out there can now see because of Nikhil’s gift.”

Nikhil, of West Orange, died in June 2011, at the age of 11, when a distracted driver ran a stop sign. Nikhil’s extended family and friends are participating in NJ Sharing Network’s fourth annual 5K Walk & USATF-Certified Race on June 8 to honor Nikhil and his legacy of generosity.

After his death, Nikhil’s family donated his corneas and heart valves, providing both the gift of sight and the gift of life to others. The family wants its involvement with NJ Sharing Network’s 5K to spread awareness about the life-saving value of organ and tissue donation and also raise funds that support donor families, research, and education.

Badlani's mother said she always was a supporter of organ donation, and even mentioned to her son that he should donate her organs if possible when she died — expecting, of course, that she would die before her child.

“I have a friend with cystic fibrosis who may one day need a lung transplant, and you always hear of people who are waiting for an organ. It just always was something I supported,” she said. Badlani said she also was impressed with the kindness her family felt from people at NJ Sharing Network.

Nikhil loved music and played the piano and trumpet; he was planning to perform with the Essex County Youth Orchestra.

In addition to supporting NJ Sharing Network, the family created the Nikhil Badlani Foundation, which promotes traffic safety and education and provides free music lessons to underserved children as well as academic scholarships.

Every September the Foundation hosts the STOP For Nikhil 5K Run/Walk to remember and honor those who have died or have been seriously injured in motor vehicle crashes.  This year the event will be held on Sept. 21, at the West Orange High School.  

To signup for NJ Sharing Network’s 5K Walk & USATF-Certified Race, visit www.NJSharingNetwork.org. To learn more, get involved and register as an organ and tissue donor, visit www.NJSharingNetwork.org or call1-800-742-7365.

For more information on the Nikhil Badlani Foundation and its5K Run/Walk, visit www.nikhilbadlanifoundation.org.

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