Patient Story

Why I Give: Tony Esparrago


“I am here because someone gave before me, and I want to be that for someone else." -Tony Esparrago

At the start of the pandemic when the world shut down, Tony Esparrago started experiencing vision complications.

Tony waited to see his ophthalmologist, who then referred him to Saint Luke’s Hospital of Kansas City. By June, he was able to see a neurologist who said Tony needed to be seen by a Saint Luke’s Ear, Nose, & Throat Specialist. Vidur Bhalla, MD, fit him into his schedule that same afternoon.

After examining Tony, Dr. Bhalla asked about Tony’s heritage, which gave Dr. Bhalla a lead. Just weeks before seeing Tony in the clinic, Dr. Bhalla had attended a conference where he learned about higher nasopharyngeal carcinoma incidences for people with Filipino backgrounds. Dr. Bhalla then asked Tony to look up and he was able to locate Tony's tumor deep in his nasal cavity.

Tony’s care team at Saint Luke’s Cancer Institute, led by Janakiraman Subramanian, MD, and Sunpreet Rakhra, MD, implemented an aggressive treatment plan.

“Tony is one of the most upbeat and inspiring patients I have met. He has taken everything from his diagnosis to his treatment to his surveillance in stride,” said. Dr. Bhalla.

Dr. Rakhra agreed. 

“Tony’s willingness to give it his all speaks volumes to who he is as a person,” Dr. Rakhra said. “He is a wonderful person with so much hope and determination to live.”

After learning that Saint Luke’s Health System was a faith-based, non-profit organization, Tony was determined to pay it forward by donating stock to Saint Luke’s Foundation, which directly benefits Saint Luke’s Precision Oncology Program.

“I am here because someone gave before me, and I want to be that for someone else,” Tony advocated, “And I’ll continue to give because Saint Luke’s was my miracle.”

Learn about our diverse giving options including gifts of stock.