Ashok Shrestha is a 54-year-old resident of Lalitpur, Nepal who suffers from a disease called neurofibromatosis which has caused several benign tumors to grow on his face.
Shrestha was born normal and blemish-free but as he grew up older, large visible tumors began to erupt over his body. “Because the mass has grown this huge, I face great difficulty in eating and drinking,” he says. “And it’s not just with eating and drinking but also while speaking. It is hard for other people to comprehend my speech because the tumor covers my lips.”
He is a well educated man who was a government employee until he started his own business in the education sector. But he is now unemployed and is surviving on his savings with a lot of hardships. He has no family and has very few friends.
Ashok has gone through four different surgeries in attempt to remove the tumors, but failed every time. He has recently received a fresh hope in the form of an offer from Dr McKinnon at Presence Saint Josesh Hospital in Chicago, USA.
The treatment is going to cost £25,000, while he will also need an additional £5,000 to cover his travel, medication and expenses during the treatment period.
With the help of Kristina Allen; a half Nepali, the UK based musician, who used to see Shrestha almost every day on her way to school in Kathmandu and wanted to help him in some way; a page on crowdfunding site GoFundMe has been set up to help Ashok reach his target. An amount of £ 18,144 has been raised in last five months.
If Ashok is able to get the treatment and if it succeeds, he wants to work for the society and help people like him who are in dire need of financial or any other kind of support. “It would be great and I would be very happy. More importantly, after the success of my treatment, I want to serve my society”, he says. “Like the tumor I have on my face today, I want to help others with such a problem. I want to help those with financial need, do all that is possible from my side and serve them for the rest of my life.”
If you would like to help Ashok, you can donate HERE.
To know more about him and the disease, watch the video below.
Video & Images: Barcroft
Cover Picture: Skanda Gautam