Than Than is a 32-year-old woman who lives in Burma with her parents and her two children. Her husband passed away three years ago, so Than Than supports the family. She sells flowers around her village. When she is out, her mother looks after her children. Six weeks ago, Than Than began to feel sick. She had been experiencing lower back pain since age 15, but the pain had grown severe. She sought treatment at the village clinic without success. A doctor at a local hospital administered an ultrasound and diagnosed her with a kidney stone. Than Than knew she needed surgery, but she could not afford healthcare. Fortunately, a friend suggested she visit our medical partner's care center, Mae Tao Clinic. She received medication and is scheduled to undergo a nephrolithotomy on January 4, 2017. During this procedure, surgeons will remove her kidney stone. Now, our medical partner is requesting $1,500 to fund her treatment. "I look forward to having the surgery," says Than Than. "I hope to become healthy again, so I can continue to work for my beloved family."
Chong is a nine-year-old boy from Thailand. He lives with his mother, who works as an agricultural day laborer, planting and harvesting corn and beans for a plantation owner. They live in a hut on the plantation owner’s land. Chong’s mother supports the family as a single parent. She cannot afford to send any of her children to school. Chong helps his mother with household chores, cooking meals or collecting water from a nearby pond. Some days, he accompanies his mother to work, where he helps her carry bags. A year after Chong was born, his mother noticed an abnormal condition in a sensitive area of his body. Chong complained of pain, so his mother brought him to the hospital. There, the family learned about our medical partner. Chong was diagnosed with a right inguinal hernia and hydrocele. He is scheduled to undergo a repair surgery on January 4, 2017. Our medical partner is requesting $1,500 to fund this procedure. Chong loves to play games of marbles with his friends. He also loves to cook. His mother says that his best dishes are fish paste salad, stir fried dishes, and soup. Even when he is not feeling well, Chong always wants to help his mother. In the future, Chong hopes to stay in Thailand to support his mother. “I would like to find a job here,” he says, “so that I can help my mother.”
Maung Pay is a 25-year-old man from Burma. He lives in a village with his father, his stepmother, and his younger brother. His father owns a rubber plantation, and he also grows sesame. Maung Pay helps his father on the plantation, but he does not have any income of his own. In November, Maung Pay was in a motorcycle accident. He sustained many cuts from the tall grasses along the side of the road. Soldiers transported him to a nearby hospital, where the staff sutured his wounds but could not stop the bleeding. Muang Pay and his father crossed the border into Thailand to seek treatment from our medical partner’s care center, Mae Tao Clinic (MTC). Maung Pay was still bleeding when he arrived at the clinic. A medic examined his right foot and found two bone fractures. He stayed at MTC for three days before he was sent to our medical partner’s hospital, Mae Sot General Hospital, for an x-ray. The x-ray showed that his toes were broken, so the doctor inserted metal rods onto his toes. Maung Pay gained function in his foot, but he was still in pain. On December 22, Muang Pay underwent an internal fixation procedure to fully repair his fractured toes. Now, he needs help to pay his $1,500 medical bill. “If I am fully recovered, I would like to go back to work with my father and my stepmother,” says Muang Pay.
Maung Chit is a 43-year-old father of a large family. He lives with his family in a village in Burma. He works very hard as a day laborer, and he is employed by several large farms. In April, Maung Chit was in an accident. He was transporting timber in a makeshift wagon when a portion of the load fell on top of him, breaking his right leg above the ankle. Maung Chit was immediately brought to a local traditional healer, who cleaned his wound with alcohol. A bamboo paste applied to the wound prevented any infection from developing. Unfortunately, after two months of care from the traditional healer, Maung Chit had not healed. He began to seek medical assistance elsewhere, eventually traveling four hours to visit our medical partner's clinic. When he arrived, there was a large bulge on his leg, and he was unable to walk. On December 20, he underwent an internal fixation procedure to repair his fracture. Now, he needs help to fund this $1,500 procedure. "All I want to do is to get healed so I can return to work," says Maung Chit.
San is a 36-year-old woman who lives in Bangkok with her husband. She used to work on a construction site, but recent health issues have prevented her from working. Her husband, who works as a bricklayer, is the sole income earner for the family. When San was 21 years old, she began to experience painful gynecological symptoms. She managed her condition with painkillers. When she turned 28 years old, the pain grew severe. She visited a nearby clinic, where she learned that she had a mass in her uterus. She was advised to undergo surgery. Fearing surgery, San decided to return home. Eventually, San began to experience painful symptoms again. She used oral medications, until the pain grew severe in November of 2016. San visited a private hospital, where an ultrasound revealed a mass in her uterus. San’s friends suggested that she visit our medical partner’s care center, Mae Tao Clinic (MTC). They loaned San money to make the journey from Bangkok to MTC. San was diagnosed with a myoma, a benign tumor that develops in or around the uterus. On January 5, she will undergo a total abdominal hysterectomy. This procedure will alleviate her symptoms and improve her quality of life. Our medical partner is requesting $1,500 to fund this treatment. “My wife has been sick since we got married. It makes me sad,” says San’s husband, “But now I’m very happy from hearing that we will receive help for her surgery. This means we will overcome this problem soon.”
Nyein is a 28-year-old woman originally from Burma. When she was a child, her mother opened a mohinga, a Burmese noodle shop. Nyein quit school after sixth grade to help her mother in the shop. When she was 18 years old, Nyein moved to Bangkok to support her mother financially. She currently works as a babysitter and housekeeper in Bangkok, living with her employer’s family. She looks after the young children, prepares food, cleans the house, and does laundry. Nyein sends most of her income home to her mother, who she visits once a year. Three years ago, she paid for her mother to undergo two cataract surgeries to restore her vision. In September of 2016, Nyein began to experience stomachaches. She took painkillers, but the pain continued. Finally, she visited a public hospital in Bangkok, where she underwent an X-ray and was diagnosed with stomach flu. Despite taking oral medication, her symptoms were alleviated only temporarily. Nyein decided to return to Burma to see her mother. There, she learned about our medical partner’s clinic, Mae Tao Clinic (MTC). When Nyein visited MTC, she was diagnosed with a benign colon tumor. She underwent a tumor removal procedure on December 19. During her free time, Nyein loves watching Thai movies and listening to Thai music on her mobile phone. She hopes that she will be fully cured so that she can return to work and continue to support her mother. For now, she needs help to pay for this $1,500 surgery.
Ma Nyein is a 42-year-old woman who has lived in a village in Burma her whole life. She lives with her parents, her 18-year-old son, and her seven-year-old nephew. Her daughter moved to Bangkok seven years ago to work in a food shop. Eight months ago, Ma Nyein stepped on a loose plank in the floor. The piece of wood swung up and hit the left side of her head. Soon, her left eye grew swollen and bruised. She began to experience numbness and pain in her head. She visited several healthcare centers, but all she received were painkillers. Ma Nyein's son, an eighth grader, left school to take care of her. Her condition also forced to her stop her sewing business. Finally, Ma Nyein came to our medical partner's care center, Mae Tao Clinic (MTC), in October of 2016. She was seen by an eye surgeon and underwent a CT scan on October 19. The results should give her medical team a clearer picture of her condition. Now, Ma Nyein needs $414 to fund this scan. "I would like to get well soon. I wish to open a shop at home to sell dried food and the clothes I made," shares Ma Nyein.
Aung Kyaw is a 42-year-old husband and father of three children from a village in Burma. Over a decade ago, in August 2002, Aung Kyaw began to experience nausea, abdominal pain, and vomiting. After being admitted to a hospital in Rangoon, he was diagnosed with gastroenteritis, an intestinal infection that causes cramps and nausea. After receiving an IV line and oral medicines, he was discharged. However, over the next decade, Aung Kyaw's symptoms repeatedly returned. He visited numerous hospitals, only to receive the same diagnosis and the same medicines. Eventually, he realized that these clinics were not addressing the cause of his illness. Thus, in July 2015, he traveled eight hours to visit our medical partner's care center, Mae Sot General Hospital. He was diagnosed with a tumor in his abdomen. He is scheduled to undergo a CT scan on December 8, and he will receive the results on December 15. Due to his health condition, Aung Kyaw has not worked for the past decade. His wife currently works as a rubber merchant, but her earnings are only enough to cover general family expenditures, and the family is in debt. For this reason, our medical partner is requesting $414 to fund this CT scan. Aung Kyaw hopes to be fully cured so that he can return to work in his plantation. "My wife has turned into so many colors in the past years," he said. "She turned pale when my condition got worse. She turned red when I had to visit the hospital, which meant our savings were gone. But if my illness is cured, she will become ecstatic and turn rainbow."
Naw Blu is a one-month-old baby girl who lives in a refugee camp in Thailand. Her parents moved to the camp from Burma to escape civil war and raise a family. In addition to her parents, Naw Blu also has three older sisters. One week after Naw Blu was born, her mother noticed that her left leg wasn't moving. X-ray results did not show any bone abnormalities. On December 16, Naw Blu will undergo a CT scan, which will help her doctors diagnose the problem. Our medical partner, Burma Border Projects, is requesting $414 to fund the scan. Over the past year, life in the refugee camp has grown more difficult, due to reduced food rations and fewer community workers. Jobs within the camp have become scarce. Despite these challenges, Naw Blu's mother is optimistic about the future. She will do whatever it takes to ensure the wellbeing of her children. She says, “I want my daughter to finish school, and after that she can do whatever she wants.”
Hser Paw is a bright 21-year-old student from Burma. At a young age, she moved away from her village to pursue her dreams as a medic. Unfortunately, Hser Paw recently halted her studies due to challenges with her health. In late November of 2016, Hser Paw felt tingling and numbness in her left leg. A week later, the symptoms spread to the entire left side of her body. These symptoms made her normal day-to-day activities a challenge. Hser Paw was referred to our medical partner's care center, Mae Sot General Hospital, where she will undergo a full-body CT scan on December 9. The results of the scan will help her physicians diagnose the issue, which they believe is neurological. Our medical partner is requesting $414 to fund this diagnostic test. Hser Paw says, “I want to recover and continue my studies as a medic."
Zaw Win is a 17-year-old football enthusiast from Burma. He lives with his family and works at a local casino. In his spare time, Zaw Win enjoys playing football with his friends. At a game during the Karen New Year festival, Zaw Win was kicked in the arm. His bone fractured. His friends rushed him to a local clinic, but he did not receive adequate medical care. Zaw Win and his father traveled six hours to reach our medical partner's care center. There, he will undergo an internal fixation procedure on January 6. During this orthopedic operation, a metal rod is implanted to help the bone heal properly. Our medical partner is requesting $1,500 for costs associated with Zaw Win's surgery.
Zaw is an 11-year-old boy from Burma. He lives with his parents and two younger brothers. Zaw's mother sells watermelon in their town, while his father works on construction sites and cuts bamboo for neighbors. Zaw himself is a student who just finished the fourth grade. He loves to spend his free time playing football and marbles with friends. When Zaw was nine, his mother noticed a nasal polyp, or growth, inside both of his nostrils. At night, he began to have difficulty breathing. Zaw's condition has caused him to stop attending the fifth grade. Zaw's family could not afford medication or travel to a clinic. Finally, Zaw visited our medical partner's care center, Mae Sot General Hospital. There, he will undergo a CT scan on January 11. This scan will help his doctors plan for further treatment. Zaw's parents earn an inconsistent income. They need help to fund this $1,500 procedure. His mother hopes her son will recover soon. “If I am fully recovered, I will go back to school,” Zaw says.