Dean Fortunato

By now virtually all of Dean Fortunato's friends and family (you) know of his current struggle with Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS).  It's a rare disorder that afflicts about 1 in 100,000 people.  On Dec 21 Dean entered the hospital. He was completely paralyzed and in Cedars-Sinai ICU through Jan 18. He's moved out of Cedars to a small respiratory hospital, where he’s recovering the ability to breathe on his own, and has begun to have some movement in his limbs.  The doctors are certain he'll recover, but he has a very long rehab ahead, expected to take as much as 1 year or more.  (Although Dean's pretty determined so we're hopeful he'll shorten that time).

Please note**** I am not above posting shamelessly adorable photos of Dean’s kid to get people to donate****

Read the following to know the story of how it's gone so far, and why we're raising these funds.
Although virtually all patients who have GBS fully recover--and Dean will be no exception -- it has been painful for us all to see Dean be a prisoner in his body, unable to move, talk, eat or even breathe on his own since Dec 21.  He is on a daily treatment protocol commonly used for GBS;  it's exhausting for him but will take hold after a time.   

To make things harder, his wife and infant son, Lek and Harry, are in Thailand and will be unable to come to the U.S. to be with him.

Dean's got a long road ahead:  GBS can take a year or even more to heal, and there's no exact timetable.  Once the paraylsis subsides he'll have a long rehabilitation, virtually needing to re-learn to walk and move his body.  That's why we want to help him and Lek and Harry avoid being inundated with medical bills so that there's no barrier to getting him back on his feet and back with everyone who loves him.

Dean has a very large and caring medical team working with him.  As of the moment, he’s begun some excellent improvement but it still leaves everybody feeling helpless to do anything. 

So this fundraising campaign is a meaningful and immediate way to do something for him.   Please share this campaign with anyone who knows Dean.  These funds will be spent on co-pays and unforeseen medical bills and co-pays and necessary expenses associated with the long rehab. 

GoFundMe wrote me today and asked that I say who I am so that donors who don't me will know who has set this up.  Dean is virtually a brother to me.  We've been close friends since the late 80's, and we are close with each other's families.  We were actors at the same time and spent a lot of time supporting each other in that, esp those long periods when we weren't working, which we have referred to wistfully as the old days when we were retired. And we've helped each other shape our subsequent businesses as well: I convinced Dean to start and Airbnb and he's been a part-time roommate ever since.  There's nothing I wouldn't do for Dean, and he has gone way, way over and above for me through some very painful times. So now (as in, since we're no longer retired) we share a lot, and I'm deeply grateful to have him as a chosen family.  And it's important to say that I'm only one of such people in his life.

If you know him only briefly, you know his huge heart.  He has countless friends, and you all share your own wonderful experience with him. There's literally no one like Dean.  We all want him back.   And raising money to help him and his family will get him back to his hilarious and lovable self.

Please give whatever you're able; nothing is too small, as they say. 

We will get him through this.
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Kirby Tepper 
Los Angeles, CA