Community rallies for Jesse Galganov
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.
“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.