Healthbase and Dr. Bose patient: Gabriela Esquivel (Gala)
The following :
Gala's friend Pamela
strongly believe that Gala's story can inspire others to help people like Gala.
Message from Gala's friend Pamela
I' like to share a poignant story of Gala Esquivel Stohler - a wonderous spirit, a beautiful young woman and a talented singer - who overcame a tragedy to make her way to Dr. Bose in India.
About 3 years ago, Gala was in a car with her husband driving from Akumal to Playa del Carmen, Mexico. (Normally, about a 20- 25 minute ride). This night, it was raining and her husband was unable to see that the car in the lane in front of them was not moving (in fact it was parked as someone had abandoned a rental car in the lane!) and it was too late by the time he realized this and they slammed into it.
The impact killed him instantly and Gala was from that point on without the ability to walk.
She did not have insurance after recently having returned from being out of the country for a period of time and was taken to a small local hospital where inexperienced doctors worsened her already severely damaged hip.
The money from the accident (insurance from the rental car company) ran out after this surgery and she knew that she would need yet another surgery and more rehabilitation. The musical community came together, and with this initiative and the use of our bar (The Blue Parrot in Playa del Carmen) as a location for what would be our first effort to raise funds for her -- we had a successful evening and she was on her way to another surgery.
She came by to see us after this and seemed to be making progress as she proudly showed us she could stand up from her wheelchair and use Crutches for support.
It seemed an awfully long time for such little progress but her attitude was that of a valiant warrior who was going to get to the other side of this no matter what it took. We left her that evening feeling happy that she was making progress.
Fast forward to 6 months later. Gala had been in Mexico City with her mother for a period of time and had returned to Playa del Carmen. She contacted us to see if she and Igor could perform at our restaurant (Playasia) in the evenings. We immediately invited her to come. My husband Tom and I went to the restaurant that evening to meet her and hear her sing and nothing could have shocked us more than what we were about to witness.
As we sat at our table, I happened to look up and see Gala standing outside the Ladies Room. She just stood there, patiently waiting, and I wondered what she was doing. A few moments later, Igor walked up to meet her and he picked her up in his arms, carried her down the stairs and we motioned for him to come over to see us.
Tom and I looked at them in utter disbelief. Why was he carrying her? What was going on? What had happened?
Our mouths hung open and our hearts broke into silent pieces as she told us that she had deteriorated to the point of no longer having any use of her hip and that her leg had become useless due to the inability to move.
We heard the whole story and about a Doctor in India whom she thought would be able to help her. However, she was unable to get together the money that she needed in order to go and her condition continued to get worse.
They went to perform and we sat down. As we heard her gorgeous voice singing 'Fly me to the Moon', Tom and I looked into each others (watery ) eyes and without any words we both knew we were going to help her. It was what we knew we had to do. We confidently told her that evening to contact the Doctor in India and get a date for the surgery because we would have the funds ready for her. We believed, without a doubt that this would happen and so did she, because from that moment on (and within only a period of about 3 weeks) we were able to secure a date with Dr. Bose, raise the funds, get air arrangements and accommodations made and send her on her way. We had the added joy of finding out that Dr. Bose generously donated his services!
One of the most beautiful things that happened in this process was that we were able to share something so precious with a few very special people.
We didn`t ask them for money, we asked them to participate in a miracle.
We thought, if you had the the means to be able to give someone the ability to walk again, wouldn`t it feel wonderful to give that gift? And phone call after phone call that we made was followed with 'yes' -- from people who had never even met her.
The culmination was an catered event that we had at our home where Gala and Igor performed and those people who had so generously stepped up for her were able to meet her themselves and understand why we presented this opportunity in the first place.
It was a magical evening of love and light with the energy of human beings coming together to help someone who could not help themselves.
I have to say that it was truly one of the most amazing experiences I have been blessed to have in my life so far. I never felt more alive and naturally high from feeling as if the universe had shared a secret with me. I received the message loud and clear..."this is what life is about!"
And the way that people continued to thank us even after it was long over, showed us how powerful and experience giving can be. I know they got that message too.
The best part was we didn`t feel we needed to be thanked by Gala or anyone else. We were the ones that felt thankful for being chosen to make a difference in someone`s life.
Gala before the accident
Gala after the accident
Videos: Gala few months after her hip surgery
Message from Pamela
Hi Moe ~
Here is the latest from Gala! She has forwarded the videos of her walking down the stairs and around a courtyard...it is a miracle!
Healthbase and Dr. Bose patient: Walt
The following :
Friends of Walt
strongly believe that Walt's story can inspire others to help people like Walt.
Message by Walt's friend Ted to the world for helping our Walt
Hey people ,
I have a local Kiter here that really needs our help.. Walt has been kiting for 10 years and is responsible for starting the VAKB ( Va. kiteboarding association )7 years ago. A huge advocate for Kite safety and is mainly responsible for Va. Beach having no restrictions on kiting other then the ones that he and every other kiter in Va. Beach have voted on.
On his days off he would patrol the beaches looking for inexperienced kiters and not hassle them but spend his time basically giving them free lessons and making sure that they where acting safely. Many times I hear a person saying they could not afford a lesson and he would teach them for free. This guy is the true meaning of a kiter that lives and breaths kitesurfing..One Love!!
He needs to raise such a small amount of money ( I think about 5000.00US)if every person here would just donate him 1 dollar to his pay pal fund he could get the surgery that he needs and maybe one day soon be back on the water. Flysurfer USA will start the Fund out with a $400.00 donation. send him $1,$5,$10,$20.00 or more please lets help him get back to his normal life. He is a great person and really deserves our help.. His complete story is below.. I promise you by my Name TED BAUTISTA this is 100% true and in no way is a scam.. he really needs our help!!!
HIS PAY PAL ADDRESS is firstname.lastname@example.org Please help out a fellow kiter!! Read his story below..
Sincerely Ted B
I have always had trouble with my hips. I broke & dislocated my left hip at age 13. That means I have had only about 11 years of my life with good working legs. I had surgery back then on my left hip, with traction, 4 stainless steel pins and a body cast from my ankle covering my left leg up to my navel for 6 weeks. Following the healing of my left leg, my right hip gave out at age 15, trying to do the weight bearing for both hips. This included another surgery, with the traction and pins again on my right hip, but no body cast this time. Just crutches for most of my adolescent years. I managed to heal, but with a limp. I never let this stop me trying to live a normal life.
20 years of living, cooking, skateboarding, biking, running, walking, snowboarding and surfing later, my hips began to ache again. The thought of having to go thru all the doctor visits, hospitals and surgeries again as an adult now, made me sick to think of it. So I didn't, i went on trying to live a functional life as possible. In 2006, my hip became so bad it began to affect everyday things, working, walking and providing for myself. I would work jobs only long enough to pay rent for a month at a time, then i would quit, only to take a rest and be off of my feet. In 2007 I went from being an average athlete, working chef, & kiting a few times a week, to being handicapped and barely able to walk more than a city block. I then realized i could not fix this on my own. I researched everything i could to find an alternative to surgery, i tried more exercises, yoga, looked into Prolotherapy, none of these treatments would take away my pain. So my hips basically, cost me my job, which lead to losing my home and moving back to PA to rely on family for help and support. They are great, we are not the wealthiest family, but they have been generous in thier love and concern.
In Pennsylvania, I have seen three Orthopedic specialists, showed them my Xrays and told my story. All three were hesitant in treating me because of my young age. They wanted to perform a THR Total Hip Replacement, this means they want to cut off about 4 inches of my femor head, then hollow out the femor bone itself and stick an implant into it. The problem here is that a THR only last 12-15 years. All three Orthopedic surgeons talked about my "second" surgery or the" revision surgery", before i ever received the first one! Meaning they would go back into my thigh, remove the old implant, cleanse out the femor neck, drill it deeper than the first time, and stick and even longer implant into me, and wish me luck for another 10-12 years.
I am only 44 years old, too young for this procedure. I WILL outgrown the implant and need a revision operation within a decade or so.
Finding this unacceptable, i researched "Hip Resurfacing" a procedure that leave the femoral bone intact, and only "resurfaces" the osteo-arthritis off of the bone, Preserving the majority of my femor head, which is critical in case a THR is needed later in life. The resurfaced femor is fitted with a Titanium Ball, which swivels about in a Titanium Cup. Allowing greater (ROM) Range of Motion, bone growth, and more natural stance and gait (walking).
I have found a doctor with help of Healhbase who has seen my Xrays, and feels very confident that he could perform a successful HR hip resurfacing procedure. This is Dr. Vijay Bose from Apollo Hospital in Chennai, India. He is one of the world best orthopedic surgeons and a thoughtful and caring humanitarian.
There are qualified doctors here in the USA, i have contacted them. Most of them only accept the major Insurance providers coverage, which i do not have. Their out of pocket costs average between about $28K to $65k.
I'm convinced that outsourcing myself to India for treatment is the best alternative that I currently have. The savings are obvious. Raising funds has been the challenging part. I am unable to work, sitting or standing for any period of time becomes excruiatingly painful. I try to remain positive in all this, if I didn't I don't know what my mental state would be. I sell anything i can get my hands on thru Ebay, I've sold everything from my clothes, my kites/toys, my car and my blood to raise money. Things are slowing down as my inventory declines. But managed to raise about half of my needed medical expenses. I know I will accomplish this, but time & pain is my biggest issue.
As i reach out for help, i have planted in the back of my mind, ways to give back. I plan on helping others going thru this same ordeal; i wouldn't wish these research assignments on anyone. There is alot to learn when looking out for your own health, and that is what is has come down to, finding out what is the best way to treat oneself (on a budget). I plan on opening myself and offering my experience on this subject. I was fortunate enough to come accross a similar group of folks that were very helpful to me, so i will pay this forward.
This is my story, my goal, my journey & my quest, to get better, to have a life back.
Thanks for reading.
Dr. Vijay Bose, a thoughtful and caring humanitarian will donate his services to Walt's hip surgery!
Letter from Walt, Nov-2008
I wanted to thank the folks and staff at Healthbase for preparing and handling all my recent travel arrangements to Chennai,
India. I had been in contact with Healthbase for over 6 months,reading all the information links from their site,
asking various questions, and even emailing them my x-rays to forward to the doctor. At times i would almost get lost in the vast
amounts of questions and info that I was taking in, but they always came through with the answers that satisfied my curiousity.
Healthbase was very helpful in many ways for me, by doing all the travel booking for me, offering creative ideas on raising funds
for my trip, to giving me confidence to complete this quest being an uninsured patient. The team at Healthbase is very
knowledgable and experienced in the hip resurfacing field as well as the travel industry. My arrangements were made perfectly,
Healthbase even coordinated my trip, since I traveled solo, with another hip resurfacing patient whom also was traveling to India
alone. This became my new friend, travel companion, dining partner and sounding board for post surgery aches and pains or lack of,
for the two week length of my stay. Thanks Healthbase for introducing me to Adrienne D. She is a truley unique, special
person whom made my time abroad much more bearable, fun and upbeat.
Having someone else to share a solo experience in India was excellent, from being picked up at the airport together, going to
the hotel before the hospital stay, the hospital stay itself, and the recovery time at the rehab resort, everything was always set
up for us, all the reservations, transportation and accomodations, everything was simple, ready and waiting for us!
The communication established by Healthbase was impressive. All my inquiries were promptly answered or resolved within a timely
manner, both before my departure and during my stays at the hotel, hospital and the resort. I just directed my questions and
thoughts to Moe at Healthbase and he would intuitively know whom to ask or where to direct me. The patience they've shown me also
was very impressive. They also kept my family back home updated on my progress on a steady basis through emails.
The surgery itself went by so fast, I was up and walking the following day, and recall only missing two meals prior to the
operation. I was up and back on a regular schedule of meals, physical therapy, and socializing with other patients and the
Platinum Ward staff. The P Ward was also an awesome experience, with limited rooms, patients all got the care and attention they
required. The nurses were all very friendly, knowledgeable, helpful, comforting and caring. They really made me feel cared for and
looked after while under their treatment. A feeling that sometimes gets lost in the hospitals of the U.S.
After 7 days in the Apollo, I checked out and went to the rehabilitation resort to heal and gain back some strength. The
relationship with the resort and hospital was outstanding, the folks at the Ideal Beach Resort knew exactly how to handle fresh,
new hip resurfaced patients. The service there was remarkable, the location was totally tropical, nestled along the coast of the
Bay of Bengal close to some fishing villages and local temples. They have a wonderful culinary staff working at the Ideal, whom
all seemed to simply want to make an impression on their guests. The intercontinental cuisine was amazing, flavorful and
plentiful, as the food was as esthetically pleasing it was also delicious to taste.
The beach atmosphere to me is healing in itself. Being a beach and water lover there is no better place to recharge and regain
strength. The warm weather, the sea air, the sunshine, the crashing waves on the beach, all of these things are relaxing and
peaceful to me. It wasn't difficult to find a place in the shade on the beach for an afternoon siesta, problem was that you didn't
want to nap for fear of missing any of the passing or stationary sights. From goats and cows walking the beach, other tourists, to
fishermen and children selling wares, it was always something different to take in.
India was a life changing journey for me, the immediate results after the surgery can vouch for that. The leg length difference
was the biggest noticable change. I now am standing flat footed, both my legs are the same length now, after a near two inch leg
discrepancy. The obvious pain from limping, the pain from standing, walking, sitting and sleeping are now gone. I am on my way to
a new life without discomfort! I plan on working out hard for the cold winter months here in Pennsylvania and training hard to
get back to doing the things I had previouosly put limits on and avoided. Thank you for all your help Healthbase, I will continue
the updates as i get stronger and become more active.
David J, Cardiac Surgery
Thanks to Westland Baptist Chruch!
David had three clogged arteries. The self-employed home remodeler had his second heart attack in June 2007. The first time, his family had health insurance but not now.
David needed a triple bypass that would have cost about $250,000. Healthbase helped to arrange David's triple bypass cardiac surgery for 6% of this cost.
Kind hearted members of Westland Baptist Church helped to raise money for David's Surgery
David's family and Healthbase team express heart felt thanks to Westland Baptist Church.
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