33-year-old Govinda Regmi was diagnosed with primary hyperoxaluria type 1 (PH1), a rare blood disease that threatened to take his life. From his place in Nepal, he reached out to Kristi Ouimet whom he met through a Facebook group for people with the same disease. Ouimet, who is from Antioch, California, looks after her two children who are also affected by PH1. Because treatment options are limited in Nepal, Regmi was surely not going to make it. Ouimet did not allow that to happen. She filled out permits to bring Regmi and his wife Meera Basnet to the United States. Once here, Ouimet welcomed the couple into her family and put him in touch with experimental drugs, dialysis, and kidney transplant lists. And for the last eight months, the two families from across distant oceans bonded warmly. They cook together, share stories together, visit the beach together — the first time for Basnet — and open Christmas presents together. “I wanted them to know they matter,” Ouimet said. “They are worth fighting for, and we will join their fight as so many have joined us over the years.”

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