Help Dasha and Tito

$96,100 of $75,000 goal

Raised by 1,061 people in 7 days
Created November 6, 2018
I want to tell you about two of the best people I know. And how death came to their door. And how an unexpected medical catastrophe has turned their world upside down. And how, even in the midst of all this, God has not withdrawn his goodness from them.

Dasha Hernandez is my wife’s cousin. Family connection aside, Dasha is one of the greatest friends anyone can hope to have. She is a fantastic listener, she is fiercely loyal, and she enriches the lives of everyone who is lucky enough to call her friend. Her husband, Tito, has been there for me more times than I can count. In fact, I should admit that I’ve always found Tito—who is one of my closest friends—utterly fascinating. Here is a guy who is always thinking of others. Always focused on what he can do to make a difference in other people’s lives. What must it be like to think this way? What must it be like to genuinely find joy in prioritizing the needs of others above your own? I honestly have no clue. Tito does. This is the way he lives. This is the way he and Dasha live.

Which is what makes what happened to them all the more tragic. Listen to Tito’s first-hand perspective of how that first night unfolded:

“God has been so good and His mercies have been endless. As I sit here gathering my thoughts, I am overwhelmed by the depth of His grace and love.

On Thursday night (10/25), Dasha was admitted to Baptist Hospital’s emergency room under dire circumstances. I initially thought she was having a stroke. At least a dozen ER nurses, techs, and doctors worked feverishly to diagnose Dasha. It was immediately evident that every second mattered. For the next several hours, countless hands and eyes were fighting in an operating room for the lives of my wife and unborn daughter, Romy Joy. While attempting to deliver our baby, it was discovered that Dash had severe complications, particularly that her spleen was bleeding, and she was quickly losing blood. According to all three surgeons, her life was hanging by a thread as her body was unable to clot and heal itself. As the Operating Room (OR) team continued to work on Dash, a NICU team of at least a dozen angels worked tirelessly to save our little Romy Joy in the fight for her life. Salvation never came for her beautiful, physical frame, but we rest assured knowing that her eternal salvation was secured in the person of Jesus Christ. And as a track coach, it is relieving to know that my daughter beat me in the only race that truly matters.

During this time, Dash lost most of her blood and all of her clotting agents. All medical/chemical attempts to stabilize her in the operating room failed. She went into what is called “disseminated intravascular coagulation” (DIC) in which the body loses all it’s ability to coagulate and blood begins to flow out of every orifice including eyes, ears, nose and even skin pores. My cousin who is a doctor told me that this condition is often referred to in some circles as “death is coming” because the chances of survival are extremely low. BUT GOD had a different plan. In a last ditch effort, they closed her up and rushed her to ICU where for about two hours a team of at least 20 doctors, nurses, and techs worked desperately to save her life. For the first few hours that night I had experienced an inconceivable peace whose source was undeniably God. Although there were brief yet overwhelming waves of time while Dash hung on for her life in ICU that I truly understood the depth of fear and weakness.

All I could think of in those moments were, “God, Riley needs her mom way more than she needs her dad. Please help. Please help. Please help.” In His timing, God’s miraculous and merciful hand was undeniable. Dash was critical but inexplicably hanging on. There was a very visible and audible exhale from every one in the ICU room when Dasha stabilized, but there was also a demeanor that the situation was grim. As minutes passed, nurses, technicians, and doctors observed improvements in leaps and bounds. Gloomy expressions turned into stunned and even giddy looks. God was working. As those next few hours unfurled, all I kept hearing was, “This was a miracle.” Personnel from different parts of the hospital that had worked on Dash and even some who only heard of her case were coming by in awe at what God had done. This is not an exaggeration. Between the several family members that I have that work for Baptist Hospital and the many more friends that are also employed by the hospital, we were told that news spread throughout the place of what God had done. Countless nurses and doctors keep telling us that my wife is a living miracle. With each day that passes, new stories continue to be brought to our attention demonstrating unequivocally that our Lord is sovereign and is using this story to shine a light for Jesus into so many lives.”

There is an aspect I have not yet shared with you about Dasha and Tito’s situation. An aspect Tito himself did not initially mention to people. In addition to everything else she was going through, Dasha was bleeding profusely from her uterus. This meant that the doctors had no choice but to remove her uterus entirely, along with an ovary, in order to save her life. I ask you to put yourself in their shoes for a moment: Just a few hours prior, Dasha and Tito were thinking about how their lives were going to be different now that their second one was on her way. They have a two-year-old daughter, Riley, who would soon get to be a big sister. And who knows how their family would grow beyond even Riley and Romy—the future allowed for infinite possibilities. Yet it all came crashing down so incredibly fast. From one moment to the next came the realization that Dasha would never again give birth. I am tearing up as I write this, because if you know them like I do, you know how open their hearts are to expanding their little tribe (and knowing Dasha and Tito, they will likely look to adopt a baby girl or boy in the future—these are people who don’t know what it means to be closed off to blessing and loving others). Initially, Dasha did not want to share that she would never again be able to conceive another child of her own. What changed her mind is that she realized this is part of her story, and part of the story of God’s grace and goodness to their family, and that she is nobody to hide anything that God has allowed. On the contrary, she now recognizes that it's an absolutely integral part of the story because it adds to the depth of her and Tito’s human hurt while demonstrating the grandeur of God’s love in the peace and joy He has given them.

I want to stress this point a little more in my own words. First, a recap of the situation.

Dasha’s spleen ruptured and had to be removed. She suffered a partially collapsed lung. She lost more blood than I thought possible (over 9 whole liters—that’s 2.5 gallons!). She endured a clotting condition to her arm which made it unusable. She lost the daughter that she had told my wife just the other day she couldn’t wait to have and to love and to enjoy forever.  She lost the ability to have future sons or daughters.

And yet…two words make all the difference in the world: But God.

What Dasha and Tito have told me is not how destroyed or despondent they are—though they know these moments will come. What they have told me is how overwhelmed they are with God’s love. Imagine suffering the way they have, facing the difficulties they now face, and choosing to be grateful, to be thankful to God for his goodness. I am not sure people understand what a radical thing it is to be a Christ follower. You take an event that from an outsider’s perspective is suffused with destructiveness and death and loss, and you choose to see God’s goodness instead. The middle name they selected for their daughter who didn’t make it is “Joy.” She died, and she is associated with the most harrowing episode these two will likely ever experience, but she is Joy. Despite all this, she is Joy. This is fundamentally an act of defiance against the bitterness we’re supposed to feel in response to a loss. There is something revolutionary about Dasha and Tito choosing to interpret their lives as ones very much blessed by the goodness of God. They would say, and in fact they’ve not stopped saying, that God is the one who has given them the strength.

But I cannot downplay the reality they now face. I am not a GoFundMe type of person. I have never set one of these up. Yet Dasha and Tito are now staring at unfathomable financial hardship. For days, they had an entire hospital devoted to Operation: Save Dasha And Her Unborn Daughter. In the days that followed, Dasha had an additional surgery and various treatments, and by this point the family has lost count of all the procedures she’s had to endure. For the past couple of years, Dasha has stayed home with Riley, while Tito has worked as a high-school teacher and school chaplain. I shudder to think what they are facing next. The costs that are coming for them are apocalyptic. This is on top of what they have already experienced: They have lost a daughter, they have lost the ability to give birth to future sons and daughters, and they are facing a road to recovery for Dasha that the doctors say will take unbelievable strength. The brutal reality is that an avalanche of costs will soon fall on them.

When I asked them if I could set up a GoFundMe, they hesitated. “Everyone’s got financial needs, why should we get resources that people probably need for themselves?” We discussed it and I am happy to say that I convinced them to let me set this page up for them. They realized that they have a very difficult road ahead, and they won’t make it without God blessing them through the goodness of people who hear this story and feel moved enough to help.

Let me make my final appeal to you: Please help Dasha and Tito in their time of great need. I promise you that they would do the same for you if the situation were reversed.
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Wanted to share this update from Dasha and Tito: "From the bottom of our hearts: thank you so much for the overwhelming generosity and outpouring of love from each and every one of you. Dasha and I are blown away by the incredible response.

If there is anything that we want taken from our experience, it is that God is worthy of all of the praise that our lungs can afford to breathe out. His miraculous hand has been clearly and abundantly evident in ways that are undeniable. We are beyond words with what He has done in our lives, and we pray that this story continues to be used to shine a light for Jesus in a hopeless world.

Over the past few weeks, Dash and I have been overwhelmed by the amount of love, encouragement, and prayer we have received. Not only are we inexpressibly grateful for God’s unceasing miraculous hand, but we are in awe at the response from so many of you.

We would just like to take a moment to thank each and everyone of you who have prayed, donated, or even just shared our story. We are utterly dumbfounded by all of your love. There are seriously no words Dash or I could say to truly express our gratitude for each and every one of you. To God be the glory.

Our prayer is that God would continue to use our testimony for months and even years to come to lead people to Him. We love you all so much, and again, to God be the glory."

I want to echo their words here and thank you all for sharing this story, and this campaign, so widely. The response has been unreal. The reverberations from your gifts will be felt throughout their entire lives. Thank you again.
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I don't really care what I said in my last update. I am going to see if God wants to give this family the FULL AMOUNT we thought they needed. I said 75K from the beginning but didn't think it would even get close. I have never been so happy to be proven wrong. Thank you all so, so much for giving. I will hopefully have Dasha and Tito address everyone soon in a thank you message. Thank you all.
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The response is beyond belief. God is so good. I am raising it one final time to see if we can get closer to what the true cost of everything is (which, again, we have preliminarily assessed as 75K). Even if no one else gives, thank you from the bottom of my heart.
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UPDATE: The response to this campaign has taken my breath away. I need to say something now: I have taken it upon myself to update the amount being asked from 25K to 40K. Dasha and Tito did not want me to go beyond 25K, but let me tell you why I'm going beyond it for them. I am upping it because all three of us—Dasha, Tito, myself (as well as others)—know with certainty that the costs are greater than 25K. They just didn't want people to give more than that because they felt bad about it. But I am going rogue now and asking that you bless them with even more than the amount they hoped for. I personally assess their costs at closer to 75K (anyone wanting a breakdown can reach me personally), so hopefully they can forgive me one day for upping the amount. Ultimately, I want God to continue doing this great work of blessing them through people who read this and feel like they want to help. Thank you.
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$96,100 of $75,000 goal

Raised by 1,061 people in 7 days
Created November 6, 2018
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