The March 26 fundraiser event, A Night for Avi, is fast approaching! To help give a better idea of just who Avi is, Brooke Laura from Saprinu has written a bit on her relationship with Avi and his family from her time living in Nepal. You can also visit Laurel Etter’s Crowdrise page to learn about her experiences and better understand why we are raising money!
I met Avi and the rest of the Bhattarai family 4 years ago when I journeyed to Nepal. Little did I know that I would end up starting a school in a rural Nepali village with Avi’s father – and so the story begins.
Avi is an incredible 9-year-old boy who was born in the rural village of Archale in Nepal. Life for Avi was normal. His days were typical of any child his age: playing with his younger brother, participating in sports, reading, and running around his village. He was happy and healthy.
This story begins in November 2011 when Avi began complaining of neck pain. A few days later he had completely lost the ability to walk. There were no medical facilities nearby, so he and his family traveled the 6 hours by local bus to the capital city of Kathmandu. We soon discovered Avi had a fast growing tumor on his thoracic spine. In an effort to save Avi’s life, a group of friends rallied together and raised funds for the family, and they were off to India for treatment.
Avi was misdiagnosed four times, underwent two failed surgeries to remove the tumor, and made multiple trips to India. Time was running out. The family began their desperate search for a surgeon who would commit to taking on Avi’s mysterious and challenging case in an effort to stop the growing tumor that was strangling his spine, resulting in paralysis. In January 2012, a team of specialized surgeons from around Nepal united to perform what proved to be a successful surgery to remove Avi’s tumor.
Miraculously, after being paralyzed for a year and a half, Avi shocked us all by walking on his own just months after surgery. To this day doctors are still unable to give Avi a definitive diagnoses. Since his surgery, the tumor has already begun to grow and he desperately needs radiation therapy in an effort to stop the tumor from spreading.
Avi wants more than anything to be a normal kid again. He looks forward to the day when he can run through his village with the other children, ride bikes with his little brother, go to school, and be happy and healthy. Avi wants to be an engineer when he grows up. We want to help give him the best possible chance of a bright future. Please help us in getting Avi the medical treatment he so badly needs.
I believe that every child – no matter where in the world they happen to be born and no matter what their economic status – all deserve access to health care. Avi was born into a poor family in the hills of rural Nepal. There is limited access to health care and in many cases people are left to die even when treatment is available but requires just a matter of a few hundred dollars. Money should not determine whether or not Avi lives. His spirit and will to survive are profound; his family’s determination and love unwavering.
Each of us possesses the ability to help others – today I ask you to help in saving young Avi’s life. With your help, together we raise awareness and money to give Avi a fighting chance. Please join us today by making a donation!