A Note from Joe: Avi
I first heard of Avi a couple of years ago and it was Brooke Laura who told me about him. A great kid, heart of gold, full of life and smart as a whip. He was the son of Sudan, the head master of Shining Star academy in the village of Archale in Nepal.
Brooke had founded Shining Star Academy with Sudan to help provide a quality education where none could be found. Brooke had moved to Archale to help with the opening of the school and lived with Sudan’s family there.
She told me of how Avi had got a tumor, that the tumor was growing and as it grew Avi was losing more and more mobility. It ended with Avi in a wheelchair unable to move his lower body.
He had been to doctors in Nepal and India as the health care system in Nepal is not too good. Brooke and a number of volunteers in America had found a number of doctors to volunteer their time and the consensus was Avi needed an operation, and he needed it soon. This required Sudan and Avi getting to India and staying there for months.
As you can imagine, all this cost big amounts of money, money that no one in Nepal would ever dream of earning in a lifetime, let alone accumulating in the time frame that Avi needed it.
This all happened in the summer of 2012. The story resonated with me, I felt instantly connected to Avi and what he was going through. I was training for the Marine Core Marathon with my son Eoin at the time. Every time the going got tough – and any of you who know me will know that was often – Avi jumped on my shoulders and helped me forward, any time I thought I could go no further Avi seemed to tell me I could.
Eoin and I completed our marathon (Eoin far quicker than his father). A couple of weeks after the marathon Aidan, my younger son, Eoin and I all went to Nepal for a few weeks. This proved to be the best trip of my life.
In Nepal we quickly met Avi and Anamol, his brother. We had dinner often with the family and went hiking. They welcomed us like family, into their house, into their village and into their lives. All the time Avi was full of life, whether playing baseball, telling stories or laughing at my beard.
All the time we were there Avi was confined to a wheelchair, with his dad or mom carrying him where ever he needed to go. Archale is not exactly a place that is easy to get around in a wheelchair. Like everywhere in Nepal, it is incredibly hilly and has no roads.
We spent 2 weeks in Nepal and left there with many new friends and beautiful memories. But since we have came back it is Avi who we remember most, who we ask about most, who we want to see recover.
Through the tireless work of a group of people who really care, enough money was raised to allow Avi get the surgery that he needed. The surgery went incredibly and after months in India, Avi and Sudan returned home. What was amazing is that the surgery not only stopped the progress of the tumor but also allowed Avi to recover use of his legs and become a demon on the badminton court.
So all has been incredibly positive, what Brooke Laura, Laurel Etter and the team of caring people that they have put together is amazing. They have given hope where there was very little, they have kept fighting and fighting so Avi could have a chance.
Although the operation has been successful, Avi still requires physio therapy. His whole family has relocated to Kathmandu so he can receive this care. This care costs $5,000 per year, more money than the average Nepali worker makes in 10 years.
On Wednesday night we are having a fundraiser for Avi. Corty Byron is playing music, we will have Nepali food, we will have Nepal handicrafts for sale and 100% of the proceeds will go to Avi and his care. I appreciate you reading this, I would love your support. And if you can’t attend and would like to give, click here and make a donation on Laurel’s fundraising page.