$7,977 of $10,000
55 donations

This fundraiser ended on 08/31/12

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The family, friends, and classmates of Hela Kelsch are reaching out for support to help her hear again.

August 23rd, 2012

Hela had her surgery last week and it was a success. She has an implant in her head right now and once it heals entirely in five more weeks, she can put the processor on, which will allow her to hear again.

She wants to thank everyone who's supported her throughout this journey!

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Update: Great news everyone!! Hela has surgery scheduled for August 16th, that's next week, for her Baha hearing aid!!!!!!! She is so blessed to have such wonderful family and friends who have supported and encouraged her throughout the year. Thanks to everyone who donated and made this miracle possible.

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 July 2012

Update: Hela started medical school again as an official member of the Class of 2014! She spoke at the Bioethics conference about her ordeal last week. On Monday, July 2nd, she will begin her third-year rotations and she's excited to get back to life as usual! She is eternally grateful for everyone's generous donations and support. She'd like you all to know that it means a lot to have such amazing people helping her.

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Hela Kelsch always knew she wanted to be a doctor. Barely a teen, she joined the ski patrol in her hometown of Spokane, Washington, giving her experience in first aid and planting the roots of a philosophy that would guide her throughout her life - helping others. She dedicated her years at Carroll College to teaching kids to swim and serving as a lifeguard at the local swimming pool, mentoring kids through the Big Brothers, Big Sisters organization, and volunteering at the local veterans' hospital. In 2009, she moved to Kansas City, Missouri to start medical school and begin a journey she'd been waiting to take her entire life. As a medical student, she never lost sight of her goal to serve others. She went on a mission trip to Haiti after the devastating earthquakes, provided free health screenings to hundreds of Kansas City school children, most of whom didn't have frequent, reliable healthcare, and she volunteered to be a youth group leader and a tutor to high school students. But just after finishing her second year of med school, Hela was diagnosed with an acoustic neuroma, a rapidly growing benign brain tumor that compressed the nerves in her skull. The tumor, attached to the vestibulocochlear nerve -- the one responsible for hearing and balance -- grew so big that it damaged the nearby facial nerve and consequently, paralyzed the muscles of the right side of her face. She took a medical leave of absence from school and underwent two brain surgeries and a round of radiation. The doctors were able to take half the tumor out, but the other half remains in her head, strongly bound to the vestiubulocochlear nerve and impinging on structures too fragile for doctors to manipulate. Instead, they were forced to sever the diseased nerve, leaving Hela completely deaf in her right ear and destroying her balance to the point that she needed physical therapy to learn to stand without wobbling. Hela's only option to hear again is an osseointegrated cochlear stimulator that will be surgically implanted in her skull. A receiver will also be placed and, with the help of bone conduction, sound will travel from her deaf side on the right to the working cochlea on her left. The problem is that insurance won't cover the $14,000 she needs and, since she's a student whose financial aid loans were cut off when she took a medical leave of absence, she can't afford the expensive device. Hela's family and friends have organized fundraisers that have raised a portion of the money, but she still needs another $10,000 to pay for the device and the surgery. If you would like to help, please click on the link below. Thank you for your support and generosity. As a future physician, Hela will someday pay it forward.

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