Raju Bhagat has enjoyed immense success in the hotel and tourism industry, but his most devoted calling is honoring the memory of his late son.

The Vishal Raju Bhagat Foundation’s mission is to carry forward the fight of juvenile diabetes by granting funds for innovative re- search, improving education and advocacy within the general public, and improving the lives of children afflicted with diabetes and in need of assistance.

It’s a mission that was close to Vishal’s heart, which is why it’s so important to his father as well.

“It’s important to give back to our community of care here in South Texas,” says Raju. “That’s why our Foundation was eager to partner with CHRISTUS Spohn in its effort to curb diabetes.”

Vishal, who studied at the University of Texas in Austin, was afflicted with juvenile diabetes (Type I), says Raju. However, it didn’t keep him from pursuing an active life, including establishing the “Sugar Free Bowl,” a flag football game that is now played at multiple campuses with a goal of raising funds to help fight diabetes.

After Vishal passed away suddenly in 2006, Raju wanted to continue his legacy of helping to combat diabetes, a condition that affects so many people in South Texas, regardless of race, gender or income level.

That led Raju to begin the annual Vishal Bhagat Memorial Golf Tournament, which benefits charitable endeavors in South Texas.

“This past year was our 10th year of putting this event on and it grows larger each year,” says Raju. “It’s a testament to our community here, you know. When we work together, we can do great things.

“Those great things begin with education, which is important as we try to fight diabetes at all levels.”

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