Help Mr. Ashok Shrestha NF Surgery

27952776_15194072450_r.jpegThis Campaign is started by Chicagoland Nepali  Friendship Society, a non profit organization in Chicago,  mostly comprising people of Nepali origin.

Mr Ashok Shrestha is suffering from Neurofibromatosis. Due to large mass on his face he is unable to live normal life. He came to Chicago for the tumor resection and we are helping him through this campaign.

Message from Mr. Ashok Shrestha
Dear fund campaigners, donors, all good thinkers

Dear friends and respected community members,

First of all, I would like to thank the President of Chicago Nepali Friendship and its members for organizing this this meeting to talk about my surgery and to help.

I would also like to thank all attendees who took precious time out of their day to attend this meeting.

I am able to stand here and prepare for my surgery with the help from many many generous people all over the world. It was about 4 years ago when I posted my video pleading for help. All the help up to this point has been individual donors from around the world and not any particular organization.

One of the key person in my journey has been Diana Haberkamp from Midwest NF. She was the one who connected me to world class NF Surgeon Dr. McKinnon. For that, I am forever grateful to Diana. After this initial introduction to Dr. McKinnon, I saw light at the end of the tunnel and started this campaign to come here.

To give you a litte background about myself, my father was a Director of Agriculture in Kathmandu Nepal. We were a middle class family. With the blessing and support from my parents, I was able to complete my Masters Degree in Accounting. For about 8 years, I had an opportunity to work as an Accountant. However, I was never hired as a full time or permanent employee. I got paid for the day's work each day. For about another 8 years, I worked as an unpaid volunteer Computer Trainer.

In the past, I didn't want to ask for help. If I had asked for help sooner, I probably would have had better life long time ago.

Time and situation changes everyone and I am no different. My situation changed drastically over the years and I had no choice but to ask for help. After my Father passed away, I was solely responsible for our home and my Mother's Hospital bill. Since I didn't have a source of income, I sold my Father's legacy which was our home. Even with all the effort and expenses, my Mother's life couldn't be saved. I came to a point where it was very hard to manage a single meal per day. Despite the hunger, I couldn't ask for help. The financial frustration and social uneasiness made my life extremely difficult but I refrained from asking for any help for a long time.

Friends, it wasn't just my social exclusion but also people using my illness for their gains that made me realize how low some people can go.

Few years ago, I met an older gentleman in Nepal who offered to help me get a surgery setup in USA. He gathered 2 people to go along with me to US for help. I did not know that he was charging three hundred thousand Nepali rupees which is equivalent to 30 thousand US dollar per person from those people for an opportunity to go to US. I only found out about it after all of our VISA to US was declined. I felt like I was taken advantage of and exremely hurt. I had never cried about anything until that particular day.

After this incident, I was determined to get help and leave Nepal. That's when I posted my story and video on Facebook. I also started to contact various Organizations throughout the world including NRN. The only organization who responded was Diana from the NF Midwest. I am extremely grateful to Diana. Because of that video on Facebook, I started getting calls from all over the world, many emails, and Facebook messages. I got encourgement to take care of my health, eat on time, a lot of love and support from different corners of this world. Kristina Allen from England started a GoFundMe page which is still active and collecting fund. Many other individuals started their own mini campaigns and programs for me and this time it was all with honesty and kindness. My life started to change and I started to see hope. This hope and kindness has brought me here in front of you.

I want to talk a little about my trip to Omaha. Rachel Minderup is an artist from Omaha who has been painting portraits to increase awareness of NeuroFibromatosis. I have been a Facebook friend with Rachel for 4 years. She had painted my portrait using my photo. I went to Omaha to celebrate the NF awareness week and pay Rachel my respect. Omaha showed me lot of support and respect. I am thankful to people of Omaha. Specially Rachel Minderup, Mary Brochert, Dipta and their family.

While in Omaha, we found out that total estimate of the surgery migth cost over $38000. I had already used a lot of my previously collected donations money for running many medical tests, my 4 Visa attempts to USA, plane ticket to USA, paying my debts and dues, food, hotel, and hostels. Based upon that estimated cost, Mary from Omaha started another GoFundMe page for US Donors. This site has collected $23,000 dollar so far. She has already transferred 20,000 into my account which helped pay part of Dr. McKinnon's fee. I just paid Dr. McKinnon $25,000 as well as additional $800 for X-ray and Lab work few days ago.

Friends, My surgery is scheduled to be on the 6th of March at 6AM in the morning. If all my lab results are clear, I will have this surgery on that day. This surgery wil take 8 to 9 hours. I am here to ask you as an individual, or organizations to help me after my surgery. It may be finaicial or other support that I might need.

My only request is to help with true heart and honesty. So many people has helped me up to this point, the credit cannot be solely owned by any indivudal or an organization. Each and every Donor and friend is important to me and would not like to overshadow their kindness.

Before I end my talk, I want to thank TekRaj Paudel for helping me find Hotel, setting up phone, and taking me to Hospital. I also want to thank Rajesh Karmacharya for helping me with food, and free apartment from the bottom of my heart.

Again, I am extremely grateful to you for coming here to listen to my story and help me.

Thank you and Namaste

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TN Bhandari 
Chicago, IL
Chicagoland Nepali Friendship Society 
Registered nonprofit
Donations are typically 100% tax deductible in the US.
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