Friends pull together for Vail Valley man
VAIL, Colorado -About 36 hours after friends created a Facebook.com group page for Vail Valley resident Nick Asoian, the group had close to 700 members.It’s because Asoian, a 29-year-old Edwards man who was diagnosed with Hodgkins lymphoma last year, is the kind of guy people are drawn to, said his friends. “He’s a fabulous human being,” said Ellen Galbraith, a close friend and former Ski Club Vail teammate of Asoian’s. “He has a lot of friends that really care about him.”Asoian says he can’t believe all of the support he’s getting from people he’s never even met. Friends of friends and random strangers have signed up for the Facebook.com group, called Help Nick Asoian beat Hodgkins Lymphoma, and send him messages to show their support.”I don’t know you Nick, but my bro had this diagnosis and is cancer-free today,” wrote Sonja Deeks, from Edmonton, Alberta, on Asoian’s Facebook page. “Hang in there. My thoughts are with you and your family.”Asoian has lived in the valley since he was a kid and graduated from Battle Mountain High School. He was in Ski Club Vail for years and has coached there for several years, too. After his September 2008 diagnosis, Asoian coached through the entire ski season at Ski Club Vail and many of his athletes and co-workers had no idea he was sick, Asoian said. He works at Cordillera on the Mountain golf course now, but he’s had to cut back his hours by about half.The word is out about Asoian with the Facebook page and his other site, http://www.nickasoian.com, where he plans to write daily blogs about how he’s doing.His friend Matt Mullin helped get the Web pages going, and the response has been humbling, Asoian said. “It’s amazing,” he said. “In just over 24 hours there were 500 people (who joined the Facebook group).”The support means a lot, especially going into the next few weeks and months. He just finished a chemotherapy treatment in Denver earlier this week, and there’s one more in mid-August before his bone marrow transplant and full-body radiation in September. Asoian has pretty good health insurance coverage, but there are always other costs, Galbraith said. With deductibles, and maximum pay-outs per year and hundreds of missed hours at work, Asoian is already about $20,000 in debt from his cancer diagnosis.”It would be astronomically awful if he didn’t (have good health insurance),” Galbraith said. Galbraith is the main organizer of the fundraising for Asoian. She said she wanted his family to just be there for him, and let his friends worry about the financials. There’s an online donation form and friends are also planning a fundraising event in mid-August and another in October. “He’ll need whatever anybody can throw at him for support,” Mullin said. “Even with good insurance like he has, you can end up in a huge hole.”The National Cancer Institute defines Asoian’s form of cancer, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, as a cancer of the immune system. The cancer isn’t getting the best of Asoian – he said he feels fine. The nurses recently tried to help move him through the hospital in a wheelchair, but Asoian told them he was fine to walk. He said they were amazed at how well he’s doing, but that he knows the upcoming treatments, particularly the bone marrow transplant, are going to take a toll on him, though.”I’m just focusing on being happy and healthy,” Asoian said. “The support from everybody is huge – that’s helped and kind of lifted my spirits.”
• Friends of Nick Asoian have put together a Facebook group, Help Nick Asoian beat Hodgkins Lymphoma: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=logo#/group.php?gid=127850773242&ref=search• There also is a Web site, http://www.nickasoian.com. Anyone can donate money online to help Asoian or read his blogs about his health. Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or email@example.com
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