Gift of Life USA holds Gala supporting those differently-abled  

Photo collage of the Gift of Life USA Gala held on the weekend of April 22-23, 2023. PHOTO: Kaul Photography, courtesy Gift of Life USA

Gift of Life USA, a non-profit organization, founded with the aim of helping the specially-abled and nurture acceptance and empathy, celebrated its Annual Gala on the weekend of April 23, 2023, and the Huntington Hilton, Long Island, NY.

The organization, which was founded by Paresh, Flora and Dr. Harshil Parekh, held this year’s gala to advocate for Dementia and Dyspraxia, in a bid to bridge the gap across the various communities. The event was emceed by Dr. Harshil Parekh and Akash Patel.

“Every year we witness the inspiring journey of several disorders – advocate and raise awareness of various inspiring individuals and have visualized the incredible talent of the visually impaired, autistic speakers and models, down syndrome entrepreneurs, Asperger’s – epilepsy disorders, cerebral palsy role models, our special amputees and this year we advocated Dementia and Dyspraxia,” organizers said in a press release.

Actress and model Rachel Barcellona, living with dyspraxia and 3 other disorders, inspired the audience with her success story as a super model at the NY Fashion show, her journey as a graduate now accepted into Julliard and studying Vocal Performance.

Speaker Arthur Gurtman living with dementia for over 5 years, shared his incredible experience overcoming challenges and reaching exceptional heights.

Their differently-abled abilities have not stopped them achieving the impossible, noted organizers. The Gala gives an opportunity for sponsors, donors and supporters to meet inspiring differently-abled individuals, who would benefit from their support.

Dr. Hossam Maksoud, CEO of Community Care Rx and a renowned Neurologist Dr. Jagga Alluri were special guests who shared inspiring and valuable information, and donated to the initiative, the press release said.

The event featured a band performance by Down syndrome and autistic FREE Drum players, followed by an Opera by Dyspraxia National advocate Rachel Barcellona.

Distinguished women Kalpana Patel (Founder of UCI) and  Purnima A. Desai (Founder of Shikshayatan Cultural Center & Sriniketan Foundation) were recognized for their “remarkable business success, outstanding contribution and on-going support to the special needs community.”

The highlight of the event was a unique Illusion and Magic show by Eric Wilzig, as performed on “America’s got talent”. He mesmerized the audience with his unique tricks, the press release said. Songs and a DJ by Sunny and Kajal Gill pulled everyone to the dance floor.

Directors Kalpana Patel, Kamlesh & Mrudula Parekh, Shashi Malik, Neela Pandya and blessings from Mrs. Purnima & Tejal Desai, welcomed and thanked those present.

Director Mayur Dalal shared his remote wishes and blessings. Kaul Photography covered great event memories.

Among Gift of Life USA’s various programs and activities are, “Save a Child” Support, “We are Special” Talent & Skill Recognition, “Health & Education,” “Awareness”, “College Scholarships for Differently-Abled” and “Service Dog Support Program.”

The organization awards scholarships to autistic College students, promotes and showcases the talent of differently abled, persons, helps the special needs community with health and education needs, among other initiatives.

Gift of Life USA says its “true strength” … “lies in the funding and support it gives to individuals with these various physical and mental disorders.”

The organization functions with donations from the community and is operated by volunteers. For more information and to support, visit



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here