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Honoring my Dadi's Impact and Influence

Updated: Apr 21

My name is Garvita Pal, and I am the first granddaughter of Vinita Pal. My grandmother (Dadi) has had such a wonderful impact on my life. I grew up around her and learned the beauty of life. My Dadi taught me to take care of myself, enjoy myself, and most importantly, love myself a lot. After her cancer diagnosis and passing, I hoped to inspire the world like she inspired me. Starting by building her social media presence. Curating this website for my grandmother during COVID-19 and having my Dadi film her YouTube videos are among my proudest achievements. My Dadi loved and took care of me during my childhood; now it was my turn to take care of her towards the end of her life.

In this blog, I want to be vulnerable and share how this lung cancer diagnosis changed my Dadi's and her family's lives forever.

Starting university in September of 2022 meant the beginning of real-world experiences and opportunities to learn. Throughout college so far, I've had so many amazing leadership opportunities within the clubs I joined. I've had the chance to lead and organize keynote speaker events, which have had over 80 people attending. Right now (April 2024), I am leading a project for freshmen and sophomores, an opportunity I wish I had when I first joined UCR in 2022. This event will have UCR School of Business Professors answer and share their journeys with Business Students who need guidance in this new college environment. For the past couple of months, I have been organizing agendas and plans with other Pre-Business students to make this experience happen.

However, I believe I play a larger role as a leader elsewhere. In the past 5 years, I've positively influenced someone closest to my heart - my grandmother (Dadi). I learned about my grandma's lung cancer diagnosis after I moved to the United States, before living in Canada for 8 years. To say it hurt me in unexplainable ways is an understatement. But I knew better than to mourn and rather help her through this difficult journey.

My Dadi has been a Herbalife fitness trainer for 12 years. Upon moving to India, she disconnected from her career and fitness goals as she underwent chemotherapy. I reconnected with her Herbalife team to motivate my grandma to become part of Herbalife once again. I started a Passion Fitness Project by opening a website for her, where she promoted Herbalife products and journaled life as a cancer survivor. My Dadi eventually became regular with her team and started a program of morning exercises and diet meals. As her team traveled to obtain new customers, my Dadi felt handicapped because of her cancer. Therefore, I stepped in, creating a YouTube channel for my grandma to reach a wider audience. Together, we worked weekly creating those videos, ensuring our bonding time continued. Through growing her business and creating snippets of her life on YouTube, my Dadi finally found motivation. She was excited, and it helped her forget about the disease.

Seeing people get inspired by my Dadi connects me to the world and shows the power of putting actions to words. I'm glad to fulfill my grandma's fitness life dream despite cancer. And I continue to appreciate the beauty that was her life after she passed away in October 2023.

My grandma taught me many beautiful lessons, but one of the most important ones was how to be a leader. Because of my grandmother, leadership has become my personal critic and has shown me the importance of acting, not just dreaming. I call this ownership and hope to continue seeking opportunities to change the world around me.

Published Feb 2023. Edited (April 2024)

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