Ashok Shrestha's Surgeries

$55,318 of $65,000 goal

Raised by 485 people in 12 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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Ashok is recovering well from his second surgery!

The current financial status is that we still owe Dr. McKinnon $9,069 of his $10,000 fee, so we have a long way to go towards that bill.

We originally paid $5000 to the hospital, which covered the hospital bill and about $1000 of the anesthesiology bill. It looks like we will owe another $2000 to anesthesiology. However, we have not yet received final billing from the hospital or anesthesiology, so these numbers are approximations. I do know the surgery took 2 hours longer than planned, which of course means increased cost for the extra OR time, anesthesiology and so on.

The last time I updated the campaign goal, it was based upon a very preliminary estimate for the 2nd surgery which was exceeded by about $9,000 (yes, again ended up nearly double what we were first told - I'm beginning to wonder if that's just how medical billing works when you have no insurance), so I am making one final update to the total campaign goal. This reflects the $9069 still owed to Dr. McKinnon and an estimated $2000 more to anesthesiology, for a total still needed of just over $11,000.

This number is definitely a setback for us all, but we have gotten this close that I know if we all work together we can get this paid and help Ashok get even closer to his dream of being able to get work and not have his visage be the reason doors are closed!!

Thank you all for everything you have done! Please keep sharing and thank you so much for all you have done so far.
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Good news! Ashok's second surgery was completed Friday, as scheduled! Thank you to everyone who has donated so generously to bring us to this point!

I've attached some post operative pictures. Lots of swelling and bandages right now, but that is to be expected. My understanding is he has not had much pain, and that the surgery went very well, with Ashok needing no extra blood.

We still need just over $8,500 to pay the bill due to Dr. McKinnon, but we are at the home stretch! Thanks in advance for any help you can provide as we cover this final bill!
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Wow, clearly things have been busy here because I just looked at my updates and realized I never posted anything when Ashok came back to Omaha for a visit, or when the Omaha World Herald did a second article, or... Oy!

So, here's all the news....

In May, Ashok came back to Omaha for a 2nd visit. The Omaha World Herald did another article, and Creighton University did one as well.

Here's the World Herald story...

And here is the Creighton article...

Rachel has another portrait in progress. She is working on a series; the one from before the surgery, this one midway through the process, and then will do another one after the final surgery.

You can also see in this selfie Ashok took the other day while walking around Chicago that his first surgery has healed well.

So... where does that leave us? It is now time for the 2nd surgery!!! It is scheduled for Friday, the 20th of July at Presence St. Joseph's Hospital. Before that day, we need to get $5000 to the hospital to cover the operating room, blood transfusions, one night stay and any other hospital expenses. We currently have $4,499.50 in donations, so we lack right at $500 to get this done. Presence St. Joseph's will not let the surgery happen if they are not paid in advance, so our push this week is to get at least the hospital bill covered.

The bill for Dr. McKinnon's fee will be $10,000. We also will need to cover this. I have not yet been told if there will be a separate anesthesiology bill this time or not; I am assuming there will be. Those will have to be paid, but it is my understanding we are not under quite as strict a deadline to cover those expenses as we are for the hospital.

In addition to the pictures, I am attaching a copy of the letter Dr. McKinnon sent to us, explaining the details of the 2nd surgery.

Thank you all very much for all the support you have provided! We are in the home stretch! Any help you can provide for this last push to cover Ashok's second surgery to finish restoring his face would be very much appreciated!!
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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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$55,318 of $65,000 goal

Raised by 485 people in 12 months
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