Remembering Gargi Pahuja

Below are some of the thoughts about and memories of Gargi Pahuja, a leading light in the thalassemia community, who passed away on July 21, 2012.

“The global thalassemia community lost an eloquent voice. Gargi was the most provocative and productive advocate that I have ever known. She did everything to make life better for people with thalassemia. Whenever the CAF needed a forceful voice, we called her and she found the time to help in a very significant way. She served on major US government policy committees for blood safety and other advocacy interests. She was PI for a CDC grant for improving thalassemia care, she led the patient support group TAG, she served on the TIF board, she worked for the Foundation in two different and vital roles. She surpassed what anyone could ever hope to achieve in a life that was propelled by her drive, will and determination to carry out her hopes and dreams. We had many fun moments together and I cherish them and I will truly miss the times that she challenged and taught me – these moments were gifts. Gargi – I will always be your fan.” – Gina Cioffi, CAF National Executive Director

“The entire thalassemia community is saddened by Gargi’s passing. She was a remarkable human being who always went above and beyond the call of duty in giving of herself, her knowledge and her experience. The Foundation and all who knew her will greatly miss her; we are all enriched by having known her and by benefiting from her caring and her incredible spirit.” – Anthony Viola, CAF National President

“We are devastated by the news of Gargi’s Pahuja’s death. The global thalassaemia family, the Board of Directors of TIF, and the staff, feel today the great loss very deeply.
Gargi has served for a number of years on the national thalassaemia association (CAF) and on the TIF board as well and fought passionately for improving the life of thalassaemia patients globally.
We have lost not only a great collaborator but also an amazing friend with a breathtaking smile as Michael Michael describes in his words. Our global thalassaemia family has just become poorer.
Gargi was a mother, a friend, a wife, a daughter, and for her family we very much know that her loss is unbearable to handle. But nonetheless she was a fighter and her life was dedicated to the fight against thalassaemia.
The Thalassaemia International Federation pays special respect to Gargi’s memory.” – Panos Egglezos, TIF President

“Gargi Pahuja was a uniquely gifted individual. With all of the health challenges she faced, she always had time to serve others. Her work at the Cooley’s Anemia Foundation, as an advocate for thalassemia patients, as a member of the Advisory Committee on Blood Safety and Availability (ACBSA), and in her day-to-day activities was beyond exemplary. She accomplished much, touched many, and will be missed by all of us who were privileged to know her and work with her.” – Lyle B. Dennis

I have known Gargi for more than 13 years. She had a soft corner for thalassemics living in India. She and her family are already helping a number of children in Delhi, India through their family foundation. I have no words to express my grief and sorrow. May God give strength to my dear friend Kamini to bear this personal loss. We will always miss Gargi. You will live amongst us for ever. – Shobha Tuli

“This is so sad. Gargi was one of the first people I met at CAF. She was a great Lady and advocate for people with thalassemia.” – Jeanne Boudreaux

“I don’t know where to begin, Gargi was loved by so many people and she touched the lives of everyone that she knew. Gargi and I used to go to NY hospital together back in the late 1970’s and 1980’s to receive our blood transfusions, then in the 1990’s we both started going to the same hospital in NJ to get our treatments, she was so inspiring, and loving to all of us, she had a great out look on life, I feel honored and privileged to say she was a true friend of mine. I love her more than words can express. I was so sad to read on her Facebook page saturday night that she passed on, it actually threw me for a loop and shocked me. My prayers go out to her family and other friends who will miss her as much as I do. I know she is truly at peace and is watching over all of us from heaven, I know one day we will meet again. I love you Gargi ❤, rest in peace my sweet friend, you will always be in my heart, and I will cherish my fond memories of you. With much Love and Respect” – Lisa Falco Giudice

“It is difficult to believe that Gargi has left us. It is only yesterday that I saw recent pictures for her, with her cheerful smile. She is an example to all of us as she appreciated life and knew how to live and enjoy her time as her presence always gave us joy. May Gad take her in his mercy and make up for her any pain she suffered during her life. Please send my deepest condolences to her family and friends.” – Anton Skafi

“No words can express how shocked I was to learn of Gargi’s death. I will always remember a lady that was ready to stand and fight when she needed to but also someone with great warmth and an infectious smile. Her death means that our small world has just become a bit darker. Please send my deepest condolences to her family and friends and remember that she may be gone but she won’t be forgotten.” – Michael Michael

“I was terribly sad to hear from USA about Gargi’s death yesterday. She was an amazing individual! She was loved by everyone who knew her, and we will treasure the memory of her warmth and kindness always. My deepest sympathy to all TIF community, her friends, and her family. May she rest in peace:(” – Naila Guliyeva

“A determined, sharp, loving and organized person with no lack of energy. Sicily hosted a medical, parent, patient TIF Conference in which Gargi was a Board member. The proposal for patient round table discussions and topics were just that – proposed. Gargi took charge and within a half hour she organized topics, assigned patients, laid out the agenda, rounded up the patients and oversaw four hours of sharing with worldwide patients participating in a well organized section of the Conference.” – Bob Ficarra

“My Gargi,
There is no other friend like you in the world. You shared with me and showed me what the power of a knowledgeable patient can do in this world and that is to empower others. The way you reached out to me in Bangkok 15 years ago where we first met and became friends you reached out to thousands more. There is no other person in the world that embodied compassion and passion for Thalassemia the way you possessed it.
I will not buffer the pain on how much it hurts that you are no longer here. When my family tells me “Maria she’s with God where there’s no more pain.” I want to tell them to shut up because I miss you Gargi so much. And I’m so sorry I always nagged about you drinking Diet Cokes and loving your cupcakes, it’s because I love you so much.
My bff…I love you forever.” – Maria Hadjidemetriou

“My first introduction to Gargi was from within the CAF newsletter. I always read the stories she shared and felt enamored by her strength and wisdom. When I finally met her, I told her that she was a tremendous inspiration to me. I admired her work ethic and intelligence. While we only spoke to one another a handful of times, I always thought very highly of her. Her passing feels heavy in my heart, but I will continue to hold her there in fond memory. Please send my love to her family and friends.” – Josephine Bila

“Gargi came into America’s Blood Centers at our headquarters in DC and told us that she wanted to get more involved with advocating for blood donation and research for blood-related diseases such as thalassemia. She volunteered her services to help out with legislative issues that we were working on at the time. With her warmth, bright intelligence and a law degree, not to mention an obvious knowledge of health issues, she seemed like a natural for the job, and I felt I had found a kindred soul. She traveled to DC on her own dime to attend a Capitol Hill event with me to buttonhole a lawmaker from New Jersey. She met me outside prior to the reception, and we sat on a park bench and shot the breeze for a little while in the fading light, and then walked into Cannon House Office Building. Once inside the reception room, she strode over to both the congressman and his aide as if she didn’t have a care or a fear in the world. With her persistence and friendliness in full gear, they soon agreed to set up a meeting in their office. We still had to find a constituent blood center official to accompany us to the meeting, and we soon learned that that part was going to take some persuasion. I still have a post-it note on my computer screen to send Gargi an email to figure out a new strategy for approaching the center officials. I met her twice and yet can honestly say she was one of the most memorable people who have crossed my path. I will miss her and hope her family finds some solace in knowing that so many people thought so highly of her. “- Robert Kapler, Director, Government Relations, America’s Blood Centers

It took me some time to digest these sad news about our dear Gargi. My thoughts are with you, her close friends and her family. We have all been blessed with her gentle manners, kindness and wonderful smile. God bless her soul. – Loizos Pericleous

Gargi was a granddaughter, daughter, sister, Auntie of her beloved nephew, cousin, ♥friend, scholar, advocate, humanitarian and beacon. She will be greatly missed in our thalassemia family. – Amy Celento

An amazing person. Always inspiring you and working extremely hard for the benefit of the entire thal community. She personally touched our lives and helped us in more ways then we can even comprehend. A beautiful girl inside and out. Loving,caring,kind and compassionate. Gargi will be missed by everyone. Rest in peace. May god give her family the strength and love to bear this tremendous loss. – Joydeep & Dimple Kapur

Gargi was the strongest, bravest, and kindest person I have ever met. She worked relentlessly for the Thalassemia community and I owe her a lot for the encouragement and advice she gave me during my early days in the US. She kept up her fighting spirit till the very end, and will always be a great inspiration to all of us. Let us all remember her by the fulfilling life she led. Love always, Debanjali

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