Dear Worldwide Community of Devotees,
Please accept our humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada. We are writing to make you aware of the unfortunate situation involving Baladeva dasa and his wife, Bhaktin Christina, that is unfolding here in the Greater Alachua community, and to appeal to all of you for your help.
Bala (Peruvian Baladeva Torres) is a Mayapura gurukuli. He did service for the Alachua Temple and, in addition, is known throughout North America for his many years of faithfully assisting Rtadhvaja Swami with the annual "summer trip" – taking dozens of devotee boys to Ratha-yatras all over the continent and helping with the service of setting up and breaking down of the Festival of India.
Recently, Bala's wife Christina, age 23, who, as of this writing is 6 1/2 months pregnant with a baby daughter, was diagnosed to be in the advanced stages (Stage 4) of cervical cancer, which has spread to her ovaries, bladder, kidneys and left lung.
Christina was initially diagnosed with cancer six months ago, and at that time she was given two choices: either she could take the chemotherapy and radiation treatments that could possibly save her life but would kill her unborn child, or she could decline treatment and let the baby live, in which case she (Christina) would probably die at childbirth or shortly thereafter, according to her doctors. Christina decided against treatment so that her baby could live. Thus she is existing in an extremely debilitated state and suffering excruciating pain, just trying to make it through the pregnancy.
Christina is undergoing a strict regimen of natural treatments and following a healthy diet in order to maintain her nutrition for her own sake and for the sake of her daughter. Then, when the baby is born, she will immediately begin standard treatment in an attempt to eliminate the cancer. Of course, no one can predict what will happen, but devotees and friends around the world are praying for Christina, Bala and their baby, hoping that they may all survive this ordeal.
Up until very recently, Bala had continued to work 60 hours per week in order to pay for their household expenses and for Christina's care. Bala's lifelong friend, Madhvacarya, left his job in Canada and came to Florida in order to assist in caring for Christina. But Bala was forced to stop working in order to care for his wife as her condition worsened. Numerous donations have come in so far to help them, but they remain in a desperate financial situation.
A monetary collection, organized by Kirtiraja dasa, has been taken up to cover their living expenses so that Bala can remain at home and spend what may possibly be the last few months of Christina's life caring for her and preparing for the baby's birth. We humbly and urgently appeal to one and all to please contribute whatever you can to help this young couple, keeping in mind that if Christina does not survive the birth of their daughter, Bala will be left as a single father to care for and provide for their baby girl.
Donations may be made by check, cash or money order, with checks and money orders made payable to the: OSCAR A. AND CHRISTINA M. TORRES FUND. Those gifts may be sent to: ISKCON Alachua, P.O. Box 819, Alachua, Florida 32616, USA.
Those individuals wishing to send their gifts by bank wire transfer may do so by sending them to:
Oscar A. and Christina M. Torres Fund Bank of America Account #: 8980 0416 7025 Wire Transfer Routing Number: 026009593 Bank Routing Number: 063000047
Those individuals wishing to send their gift via Paypal made do so by going to www.christinatorresfund.com and click on "Make a Donation."
Please be informed that your gift for the care and well-being of Christina, Bala and their daughter is NOT tax-deductible.
We thank all of you from the bottom of our hearts for your kindness and your help, and we remain
Dhanistha devi dasi
Lalita Madhava devi dasi
Radha-priya devi dasi
We may be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. For anyone wishing to speak with us personally, please send an email to the above address with your phone number and one of us will call you as soon as possible. Thank you again.
P.S. We have just learned that during Christina's recent medical check-up, the doctor found that the cancer has miraculously disappeared from her lung. Thank you to the devotees around the world for their prayers! While this is a significant improvement, she is still in a very serious condition and we humbly ask for your continued prayers and support.