Ashok Shrestha's Surgeries

$51,765 of $56,000 goal

Raised by 435 people in 4 months
Ashok Shrestha suffers from neurofibromatosis (NF), a genetic condition that results in the development of multiple tumors in the body.   In 2016, he began raising funds to travel from Nepal to Presence St. Joseph Hospital in Chicago, IL, USA to have surgery to remove the tumors which have disfigured his face.   

About 2 months ago, Ashok's visa was approved, and he arrived in Chicago in December of 2017.

After several consultations with the medical specialists and many tests, it has been determined that Ashok will require two surgeries: one for the tumors on his face and cranial reconstruction, and one to place a prosthetic eye.  The cranial reconstruction is of course a risky and difficult procedure due to the exposure of the brain during the procedure.  Ashok's skull will need to be literally taken apart and completely reconstructed, and the brain will lack support and protection during this most delicate part of the procedure.

In addition, the cost of lodging in Chicago has been higher than he anticipated, and he will need someone to help him with meals and other needs after his has been discharged from the hospital, while he is still recovering from the surgery.  He has no family and no traveling companion to provide him with day to day assistance and care.  

Ashok's arrival in Chicago coincided with an art exhibit in Norfolk, Nebraska to raise NF awareness.  The art, by a good friend of mine, Rachel Mindrup, features paintings of people with NF.  This painting of Ashok is among the featured paintings in this exhibit.  Ashok made a trip here to Nebraska to participate in the exhibit.  This is how I met Ashok, as he needed lodging in Omaha to be able to attend the exhibit with Rachel. My husband and I offered him a place in our home while he was here.  Rachel was able to schedule several media interviews for him during his visit regarding neurofibromatosis in general and his situation in specific.  

Out of these interviews came a request for a US-based GoFundMe page to facilitate the additional fundraising needed to cover Ashok's surgeries, as well as any lodging and meals while he is in Chicago, and any after surgery care he requires during his recovery.  Hence, this page.  

His surgeon would like to perform the first surgery on Feb. 8th, 2018, if lodging and caregiving help can be found in a timely fashion.  If not, the first surgery will be scheduled as soon as lodging and a caregiver are secured.  The second surgery will follow at a future date, perhaps 1 to 2 months later, but we do not know for sure at this time.

Because Ashok does not have a US social security number, he is unable to withdraw his GoFundMe donations himself.  I will be withdrawing them on a weekly basis and wiring them to his bank account in Chicago.

To see more of Ashok's story, you can view this video:

To review his fundraising efforts to date or to donate in British pounds, you can see his UK-based fundraising page here:

Kristina, the founder of the UK-based page, and I are working together to ensure the comfort of all donors, whether they prefer to donate in US dollars or in British pounds.

If you know of anyone who can help us with lodging and/or a caregiver near Presence St. Joseph Hospital in Chicago, please contact us!  If you are able to assist in covering the costs of the second surgery and additional unanticipated living and caregiving expenses, please do so.  We appreciate any and all support, be it financial, prayer support, or assistance with lodging and caregiving.

Many thanks from Ashok and his Nebraska "team", Rachel Mindrup, Dipta Rai and Mary Borchert
Omaha, NE
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I am excited to report that as of today, all bills received for Ashok's first surgery have been paid in full! Thank you to each and every one of you who have made this possible!

The amounts paid specifically for surgery and recovery are:
$25,000 to Dr. McKay McKinnon
$26,500 to Presence St. Joseph's Hospital
$3,528 to Midwest Anesthesia Partners

The Chicagoland Nepali Friendship Society raised funds which covered a live-in caregiver for Ashok during the first month of his recovery. Many thanks to them for that! Members of the Nepali community in Chicago have also continued to provide Ashok with an apartment as he recovers and waits for his next surgery.

Thanks also to the family of Sheila Drevyanko, volunteer with the Iowa Chapter of the Children's Tumor Foundation. Her family has provided significant support, including transportation to and from the hospital and most doctor's appointments, furniture for the apartment, help with filling prescriptions and much more. We appreciate their "feet on the ground" support in Chicago.

We have come so far, farther than we would have thought possible! When the hospital nearly tripled their fees, none of us knew how we would ever have the funds necessary, but you all came through.

Please continue to share this campaign and contribute as you are able. We have another month or so before Ashok will be ready for the second surgery. Estimated cost is approximately $10,000. It isn't nearly the hurdle of the first one, but still... no small sum. All help is much appreciated!
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Here is a picture of Ashok after yesterday's visit to Dr. McKinnon. Dr. McKinnon says he is healing well and has removed some of the stitches. The rest of the stitches will be removed on Monday.

Fundraising efforts continue so that we can pay off the anesthesia bill from the first surgery and have money available as soon as Ashok is ready for the next surgery.

Creighton University's Fine and Performing Arts department is hosting a Draw-A-Thon this Tuesday to raise some of what we need. If you are in the Omaha area, please come check it out!

Ashok April 6th, 2018
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I've attached some pictures here from the past week. I apologize that my updates were very brief and there were not many of them. I was trying to give you what information I had as I got it - which was not much - and due to multiple significant life events and extended work hours last week, I did not have time to gather more information or write a lengthy update. Hopefully this post will rectify that.

I spoke with Astrid, Dr. McKinnon's nurse, today. The surgery went according to plan last Monday. Dr. McKinnon was able to remove the majority of the facial tumor. He did have to remove Ashok's right eye, but Ashok was completely blind in that eye prior to the surgery. Dr. McKinnon placed a "spacer" where the eyeball sits, so that as the area heals, it will do so in such a way to be possible to rebuild the bone structure of the eye socket and eventually fit Ashok with a prosthetic eye.

As you can see from the pictures, there is extensive swelling, particularly of Ashok's upper lip. Astrid changed the dressings today and says everything looks good, but it is going to take a number of weeks for the swelling to subside.

The Chicagoland Nepali Friendship Society members have provided Ashok with an apartment, where he is staying. They also raised funds to hire a caregiver who is currently staying with Ashok around the clock. I'm told the caregiver is doing a good job and is an excellent cook! Ashok has been eating and drinking, and he has even gone for a few walks around the neighborhood.

Ashok will see Dr. McKinnon later this week for further follow up and evaluation. As we anticipated, a second surgery is needed, but we don't know the specifics of that surgery until we see how the healing progresses from this surgery. We do believe the second surgery will involve rebuilding the bone structure of Ashok's right eye socket, and we anticipate there may be additional work on his face to restore "normal" look now that the tumor has been removed. The timing of the 2nd surgery depends upon how his healing progresses. We also do not have clear estimates for costs until Dr. McKinnon determines exactly what will need to be done, but we are estimating around $10,000 for the 2nd surgery. It should be much less extensive surgery than the first.

A sizable portion of the hospital fees were paid by an offline donor, who contributed $15,000 directly for the surgery! There was an additional $6,500 left from this GoFundMe after Ashok paid Dr. McKinnon's bill, and that $6,500 was paid to the hospital as well. That left $5,000 in hospital fees, which has been raised in the last two weeks. Thank you! As soon as those funds clear, the hospital will be fully paid for the first surgery!

We still owe approximately $3,500 for anesthesia. Once that is paid, we will need to work on the funds for the 2nd surgery.

I hope this update answers any questions you may have. We very much appreciate the support you all have provided. We have made huge strides against the expenses that will be incurred. Please continue to share this campaign and to contribute as you are able, as we work to pay off the anesthesiologist bill and raise the funds for the 2nd surgery.
Dr. McKinnon with Ashok prior to surgery
Friday, March 23
Thursday, March 22nd
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I have just received word that Ashok has been discharged from the hospital following his first surgery!

Please continue to share and to support this campaign, as we have a balance due to the hospital for the first surgery, as well as the second surgery still to pay for.

Thank you to everyone who has gotten us this far!!
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$51,765 of $56,000 goal

Raised by 435 people in 4 months
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