Cristel is an only child from Guatemala, and a joy to her parents. Cristel loves to eat beans, which are her favorite food, color and paint, and play with her dolls. Her father works in a clothing factory in Guatemala, and her mother takes care of Cristel, cooks, and cleans. Cristel lives with her mother and extended family in one-room house in a Maya Quiche village in the mountains. The family loves to spend their free time going to church, where Cristel has joined the choir. Cristel was born with several heart defects. One of them is a hole in her heart, which makes her heart work twice as hard to pump oxygenated blood into her body. She also has a defect in the veins that take blood from the lungs to the heart, which connect to the heart in the wrong place, meaning that oxygenated blood enters and leaves from the wrong part of the heart, depriving her body of oxygenated blood. If she does not receive immediate treatment, she could go into heart failure, have high blood pressure in the lungs (which is damaging), dangerous irregular heart rhythms, or a stroke. Although Cristel's father works hard, he makes only a couple dollars per day, making this life-saving surgery a luxury they cannot afford for their daughter. This surgical intervention will repair the defects in Cristel's heart and veins. $1,169 in funds will allow Watsi's medical partner, Wuqu' Kawoq, to provide surgeons and necessary medication for Cristel's condition. Once her heart can function properly, she will be able to run and play like a normal child, and her mother will be able to send her to school without worry. She will be able to run and play for long periods of time, and be more independent, allowing her to attend school. This treatment will greatly improve her quality of life now, and prevent her from facing the life-threatening consequences of her defects later on. Her mother shares: "I hope this surgery helps Cristel to go to school, so she can study and one day be a secretary."
Jenifer is a young girl who lives with her mother, two siblings, and grandparents in Guatemala's rural western highlands. She loves to be at home helping her mother around the house. When Jenifer grows up, she says that she would like to be a teacher because she loves to play with children. Since Jenifer was just two years old, she has shown symptoms of having a congenital heart defect. She often grows tired while playing, and complains frequently of pain in her chest. These symptoms are due to Jenifer's heart condition, which she needs surgery to fix. After many years trying to get her heart fixed, Jenifer has finally been accepted to receive surgery—a procedure that will not only heal her congenital heart defect, but will also change her life. Jenifer will be able to play like a normal child for the first time ever, and she will not be in danger of suffering a life-threatening event related to her heart condition. Jenifer's mother says, "I hope that my daughter can keep growing up healthily so that she can achieve her dreams to become a teacher."
Angela is a young-girl from rural Guatemala. She enjoys playing with her four siblings. Angela was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect and needs surgery. With $1,169 in funding, Angela and her family will consult a specialist who will then perform the heart surgery. This surgery will significantly improve Angela's quality of life and allow her to continue growing as a young girl. The procedure is scheduled for February 4.
"I would like to get better so I can go to school and play with my friends,” says Olga, who was born with a murmur and a hole in her heart. She has grown slower than other children and has a hard time playing because she gets tired so easily, making it hard for her to make friends. Because of her symptoms, she often has to miss school, and her mother has to stay at home to take care of her. Our medical partner in Guatemala, Wuqu’ Kawaq, says that “this condition is life-threatening in the long-term and needs to be operated on to give her the chance to live a normal life.” Olga’s parents do not have the resources to be able to afford the congenital heart surgery their daughter needs to improve her quality of life, and prevent fatal heart failure in the future. For $1,481, Olga will receive the treatment needed to fix the hole in her heart. She is excited to be independent, go to school and play with friends, and to no longer be short of breath and in pain.
Juana is an 11-year-old girl with Down Syndrome. She lives with her mother and seven siblings in Guatemala's rural western highlands. She is the youngest in her family, and is doted on by her mother. Juana attends a special needs school, and loves her classes and teacher. She likes to learn songs and play with her classmates. Juana desperately needs heart surgery. She was born with a defect in one of her heart’s walls, a common disorder in children with Down Syndrome. Congenital heart diseases like this, if left untreated, can progress to severe disability and death. Fortunately, there is an operation that can remedy this defect and save Juana’s life. She has undergone years of exams, labs, and the insertion of a cardiac catheter in order to be able to undergo this procedure. However, her family cannot afford to pay for the operation. Her mother became a widow shortly after Juana’s birth and is already scrambling to make ends meet for her eight children. We need to raise $1,500 to fund Juana’s heart surgery on November 29. In addition to the operation itself, this fundraising goal will also cover her lab tests, hospital stay, and food and lodgings for her mother to stay with Juana at the hospital. "I wish for my daughter to be well so that she can be a girl with many opportunities," shares Juana’s mother. Let’s help make that dream a reality.