Nepalese Organ Donor Advocate Passes Away

Her transplant anniversary became a day of mourning, as her funeral was held on the same day.

Prasha Tuladhar, 31, who originally hailed from Nepal, had been hospitalized in the NewYork-Presbyterian Medical Intensive Care Unit on Dec. 16 due to high fever. Her health continued deteriorating as both her lungs and her kidneys started failing.

She needed another double-lung transplant, as well as a new kidney transplant, as soon as possible. But time was not in her favor as it had been three years ago. (On Feb. 9, 2016 she received a pair of new lungs.)

In the early morning of Feb. 7, she left her 5-year-old daughter, Jolene, her husband, Dipak Maharjan, and her parents forever.

More than 200 people showed up at her funeral, which was held at Papavero Funeral Home, in Maspeth, New York, on Saturday as she was really popular for her volunteer efforts to promote organ donation.

More than 40 percent of the mourners were from outside the Nepalese community. Lenise Whitley was one of them.

“No matter what happened to her, she was always smiling. She was light,” said Whitley, who was also diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension and had known Tuladhar since 2012.

Dipak Maharjan, the husband of Prasha Tuladhar. (Photo by Anuz Thapa)

“I truly believe that God sends angels to us every once in a while, for just a little bit, to make the world a little bit brighter, to give us all a little bit of hope, and he takes his angel back. I feel that that was Prasha,” she added.

Even since receiving her double-lung transplant in 2016, Tuladhar had championed the organ donor cause, getting people to sign up as organ donors. Last year, she even went to Albany to urge lawmakers to pass some bills to promote organ transplantation in New York State.

According to the Organ Donation & Transplantation Fact Sheet (March 2018) provided by LiveOnNY, the organ procurement organization, most patients nationwide wait an average of one to two years for an organ transplant. But in New York State, most patients wait three to five years.

New York State ranks last in the nation in the percent of residents registered as organ donors.

Tuladhar’s father, Prakash Tuladhar, thanked the attendees on that day while bidding a final good-bye to her.

“I never thought Prasha had so many well-wishers,” he said. “I am so proud of you, Prasha.”

On the first anniversary of her lung transplant, Tuladhar wrote a letter to the donor’s family to express her gratitude. Last year, Voices of NY ran the video below, produced by Anuz Thapa, about Tuladhar.


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