Our friend and brother, Craig Richardson, who many of us know as Amar Dass, is currently in a hospital in Nepal due to a disabling back condition. He purchased a ticket to the USA for May 2nd, 2017, but was unable to board the plane due to being in such severe pain. He could not sit without pain; there was no way he could make a long trip. He was staying in India at the time, but his 6 month visa was ending, so he had to leave the country for a time. He decided to go to Nepal to meet the visa requirement, and wait for his back pain to resolve.
Unfortunately, his back pain only got worse. On May 29, a compassionate hotel employee and friend emailed me to let me know that Craig had been lying on his back since May 6, unable to get get up. I contacted the American Embassy in Kathmandu, as there was little else to be done at such a distance.
Help from strangers and new friends
Fortunately, Jeremy Jewett, Chief of American Citizen Consular Services in Kathmandu contacted me the very next day. He and his colleagues, Shraddha, and Uma
met with Craig right away and helped to get him transferred to a local hospital. They are staying actively involved until Craig is able to return home. The compassionate hotel employee and friend, Ram Kumar Puri has been bringing Craig food and and encouragement. Craig is currently being treated at the Sahara Care Hospital http://saharacarehospital.com.np/
Craig's overall diagnosis is unclear, however, the degree of pain and length of disability make it unlikely for him to improve without aggressive medical treatment. The doctor’said the x-ray showed sizeable gaps between some of the vertebrae. It's important to get him home, and find out what is causing his pain before he has any permanent damage.
Barriers to returning
Craig has very limited income, which is, in part, why he was staying in India. The medical care he is receiving now is essentially stabilization. He must return to Santa Cruz to get the medical care he truly needs. He had saved up for several months to be able to afford least expensive airfare ticket from New Delhi to San Francisco, and unfortunately that was nonrefundable.
Craig's income for May ($500 / 50,648 Nepali rupees)
was spent on:
23,500 for the outstanding hotel bill
225 rupees on juice
2,500 for the “ambulance” and stretcher team
1,160 rupees X-ray
1,500 rupees a night ($15) for hospital bed, which doesn’t include food, drink, medicine, nursing charges, etc.
Craig has the $500 for June, but it emptied his bank account. If all goes well, the current plan is for 5-6 more days of rest and physiotherapy and a back support ($70) to enable him to sit and, hopefully, travel. Jeremy said the money for June should cover Craig’s food/drink, the hospital bills, the brace, and transportation to the airport.
We want to raise money for business class airfare
from Kathmandu to SFO. Craig will not be recovered enough to sit in economy for the 19+ hours it takes to reach San Francisco. The least expensive ticket that has shortest duration and fewest stops starts around $2600 depending on the day. Business class will allow him to make his seat into a bed. Importantly, it is refundable if he has to change the dates.
The love we share
To realize our aim of helping Craig return to Santa Cruz, to get medical care, we are asking our friends, family, and community members to help share the financial burden to the extent you are inspired and able.
Any amount will be gratefully received and appreciated.
- Karen (Anurag) Mueller
- Emily Fernandez
- Lily Ohlson
- Vince Giannini
- wayne lockwood
Organizer and beneficiary
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