Com­mu­nity ral­lies for Jesse Gal­ganov

Montreal Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - KATHER­INE WIL­TON

Seven weeks af­ter Jesse Gal­ganov went miss­ing in Peru, Mon­treal­ers with ties to the young man and his fam­ily con­tinue to raise money to help with the search in South Amer­ica.

Last week­end, staff at St-Lau­rent Coif­fure on Jean-Talon St. held a two-day bake sale and raised close to $2,800 that was do­nated to a Miss­ing Chil­dren’s Net­work fund to help cover the costs of the search.

“His mother is one of our clients and some mem­bers of his fam­ily come here,” said Roula Panagidis, a re­cep­tion­ist at the sa­lon.

Em­ployee Lana Mas­tromonaco said Gal­ganov’s dis­ap­pear­ance at the end of Septem­ber was “heart­break­ing and ter­ri­bly sad.” Since then, she said, staff and cus­tomers have been very gen­er­ous in supporting his fam­ily. “I have never seen a com­mu­nity rally like this,” she said.

There has also been a fundraiser at a lo­cal gym in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce and at Solomon Schechter Academy, where Gal­ganov at­tended pri­mary school, some of the pro­ceeds from the school’s an­nual Chal­lah bake will help fund the search.

Fam­ily and friends have cre­ated a Go­FundMe page that has raised $128,000 and Mon­treal busi­ness­man Mitch Gar­ber has given $100,000 to the Miss­ing Chil­dren’s Net­work fund in Gal­ganov’s name. Gal­ganov and Gar­ber’s son are good friends.

More than 6,000 kilo­me­tres away in Peru, Gal­ganov’s par­ents, Alisa Cla­men and Todd Gal­ganov, con­tinue to search for their son along­side 50 moun­tain guides who have been hired to comb the hills near Caraz, a trekking town where Gal­ganov was headed be­fore he dis­ap­peared.

In a Face­book mes­sage sent to the Mon­treal Gazette on Tues­day, Todd Gal­ganov said, “We are search­ing harder than ever,” adding they are re­ceiv­ing sup­port from the Cana­dian and Amer­i­can em­bassies.

“(We are) search­ing high and low — it’s an ac­tive case so we are search­ing un­der ev­ery rock. We ap­pre­ci­ate the sup­port and our fam­ily thanks you all.”

“We ap­pre­ci­ate the sup­port and our fam­ily thanks you all,” Todd Gal­ganov said from Peru, where he is search­ing for his miss­ing son.

Money from the Go­FundMe page is be­ing used to hire pri­vate in­ves­tiga­tive teams and cover all the bills Cla­men has in­curred over the past month, said Ben Bright, a friend of Jesse Gal­ganov’s, who set up the page.

Bright moved in the same so­cial cir­cles as Gal­ganov dur­ing high school and said his dis­ap­pear­ance has been a night­mare for his fam­ily and clos­est friends, who have been work­ing around the clock try­ing to find their friend.

“I am not one of his best friends, but I couldn’t fathom look­ing at these Face­book posts and not do­ing some­thing to a least con­trib­ute,” said Bright, a stu­dent at Dal­housie Univer­sity in Halifax. “I give them (Gal­ganov’s clos­est friends) huge ku­dos and they de­serve a tap on the back for ev­ery­thing they have done to help out.”

The 22-year-old man was last seen check­ing out of a hos­tel in the Peru­vian town of Huaraz on Sept. 28, then head­ing to­ward a bus for the city of Caraz.

On a fundrais­ing Face­book page, Cla­men said she will not stop search­ing un­til her son is found. “We will not stop un­til we bring Jesse home, but I need your help, all of your help,” she posted.

The young man left Mon­treal in Septem­ber for what was to be an eight-month back­pack­ing trip through South Amer­ica and South­east Asia. Af­ter spend­ing a few days in Lima, he texted his mother say­ing he would be out of con­tact for a few days be­cause he was planning a four-day hike on the Santa Cruz Trek, a pop­u­lar route through a moun­tain range in the An­des.

Gal­ganov, a grad­u­ate of Lower Canada Col­lege in N.D.G., is sched­uled to start med­i­cal school in Philadel­phia next year. The col­lege has made a do­na­tion to both search funds that have been set up to find its for­mer pupil. For more in­for­ma­tion or to do­nate to the ef­fort to find Jesse Gal­ganov, go to go­fundme.com/helpfind­jesse or miss­ingchil­dren­snet­work.ngo/ jesse-gal­ganov-fund.

FACE­BOOK

“We ap­pre­ci­ate the sup­port and our fam­ily thanks you all,” Todd Gal­ganov said from Peru, where he is search­ing for his miss­ing son, Jesse, seen here with his fa­ther be­fore the trip.

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