Toronto—On the heels of a second successful musical fundraiser in April, the Selection Committee of Gabe’s Red Balloon Foundation met on July 7, 2019 to determine the recipient of The Gabriel Nikov Memorial Award, a scholarship in the amount of $1,500.00.
Headed by Kelly Whetter, Nikov’s mother and creator of the foundation named for her son, the Selection Committee had its work cut for it: with an impressive slate of deserving applicants to choose from, winnowing the field down was no easy task. In the end, however, one applicant in particular stood out for all six committee members and a decision was made to award the scholarship to young Mr. Lewis, a Toronto student.
A compassionate individual that cares a lot about his family, Mr. Lewis has had a challenging upbringing, overcoming hard times by focusing on his goals and ambitions. Always ready to embrace opportunities to better himself, Lewis fully understands the value of working as a team. He likes to step up and assist people with challenges and let them know they are not alone. With a positive outlook on life, Lewis wants to give back to those who have helped him through tough times. Considering a future in the health care industry, his goal is to aid others to reach their full potential and to enrich their lives by creating strong, healthy communities in which to live.
For Whetter, choosing a recipient for the inaugural scholarship award carried a deep emotional charge. As a single mother to Gabe, Whetter had for years worked long hours to salt away money in order to be able to send her only child to university. In the aftermath of his death at the age of 18 while still a high school student, Whetter determined that if she wasn’t going to be able to see her cherished son attain a postsecondary degree, she’d help as many deserving young people as possible do just that. In this way, she would contribute to the greater good while at the same time honouring her child. And now, after several years of working on the project, Whetter has achieved her goal. She and the other members of the Selection Committee are delighted and honoured to offer young Mr. Lewis this award, so that he may improve his own life meaningfully through education—and ultimately the lives of others.
The Gabriel Nikov Memorial Award will be offered once a year on an ongoing basis. Please consider applying for future awards if you are an eligible youth or know of someone who fits that bill.