Help us provide Ghazaly with the support he needs from being on life support for 5 weeks and life-saving multi-organ transplants.
Background on the Situation:
The day (August 22, 2020) started off like any other adventure outing. Our spirits were high and more so on this day because we were living in a time when COVID kept us apart and disrupted our normal weekly social time. We were hiking up to El Cajon Mountain to do a rock climb that I had done numerous times. This was our backyard after all, only 12 miles from my house. We both had plenty of water, had no issues on the hike up. We shared amazing moments on the climb, pushing our way to the top. Ghazaly did his first rappel into open space over the roof that day, an accomplishment for himself. We had been able to climb in the shade that day and when we reached the bottom the sun started to peak around the corner. We took in some water, ate a snack and hiked down. It wasn't an overly hot day. After the initial mile down, we stopped at the standard mid-point in the shade under the tree. We hung out there for 15 minutes, took in some more water and readied ourselves to finish the last mile out and down. From here we were going to pick up the pace to get back to the car, cool off with some cold drinks waiting for us and hit the pool at my house. About half way down, we picked up the pace and I ended up reaching the car first. I took off my gear, jumped in the car to blast the AC so it was cool for Ghazaly and waited for him. After I looked back and did not see him, I became concerned. I had transitioned into my slippers, grabbed a cold drink to surprise him and keys. As I hiked back down the road (about 50 yards), I asked a gentleman hiking back if he had seen a guy with hiking sticks. He said no. (In that moment, he waited at his car for me.) I hiked back in and got to a wooden bridge and yelled for Ghazaly. No response. I hiked back up the trail about 50 yards and yelled again. Nothing. I continued to hike up and after 30-40 yards I heard a moaning. I jogged up and around the switchback and found Ghazaly doubled over, unresponsive. The next 45 minutes were surreal. To sum things up, we (the man from the car who waited & myself) were able to carry him in a blanket down to the lowest landing, where we finally were met by the Lakeside Emergency & Fire crew. Thank god for my Spot satellite device that day. They treated him as he overheated and got him up into the ambulance about 60-70 yards to the road. Due to COVID I was not allowed in the ambulance and that was the last time I saw my good friend. He was barely breathing and unresponsive.
He was admitted to the hospital with the diagnosis of a severe heat stroke, the doctors stating that he was already in multi-system organ failure from the severe dehydration. His wife, parents, and siblings were notified and the story was repeated like a recurring nightmare.
For the next week, Ghazaly got worse. His liver was burning out, kidney failure, no brain activity, no response to command, intubated, ventilated, on pressor's and dialysis. As his organs and systems fluttered and failed, modern medicine tubed and pumped; he was kept alive by the prayers of those who loved him and the technology he so respected.
By the end of the week, he had been transferred to UCSD's liver transplant floor - with the grim warning that he needed to wake up from his coma to get on the transplant list and that without the transplant, he had a week to live.
But Ghazaly, as we all know, has never lived by other's estimation. Within 4 days, his liver fought back, buying him another 2 weeks before his mind awoke. Slowly, he astounded his doctors, fighting with a strength they could not measure, bringing his lab work, scans and diagnostics closer to ideal levels. His cognition improved, he recognized, he responded, he persevered.
Ghazaly got himself to a point of walking, talking, writing, laughing; we all held hope that he would walk out of the hospital, fully recovered. But 5 weeks in, his recovery stalled, plummeting at a frightening pace. Biopsy results confirmed what we had prayed to avoid. Ghazaly's liver had severe cirrhosis and his kidneys were dead - he needed both liver and kidney transplants, and quickly. By the miracle of thoughts and prayers, he was listed and received organs the same day, 6 weeks in.
And after a grueling 24 hours, 2 major surgeries, and 6 hours of continuous dialysis - our boy was finally responding with health. As his stats show steady improvement, we find ourselves cautious and thankful. Ghazaly actively fought death through organ failures, through infection, through impossible weakness, through separation and confusion. He fought death for 50 days and nights. And we know with the complications and magnitude of the lifesaving measures required, that he will have to continue to fight, but going forward, he will be fighting for the life that so many prayed to save.
Please help support our friend Ghazaly and his amazing wife with their next arduous challenge with the mountain of hospital bills from countless surgeries/treatments to save his life. It's going to be a long journey and your support would be greatly appreciated as he recovers over the next year.
Fundraising team: Team Ghazaly (2)
San Diego, CA