Four months ago Harrison went to the doctor, because his face was swollen and he was feeling sick. After an initial examination and labs, Harrison was told that his kidneys were not working, meaning that his body was losing the opportunity to filter waste from his bloodstream. Kidney failure causes swelling, weakness, shortness of breath, lethargy, mental confusion, irregular heart beats, and eventually death.This week Harrison took a turn for the worse. His kidney failure worsened causing him to vomit repeatedly. He was admitted to a hospital in a large city several hours away from his home, and he now needs to begin peritoneal dialysis. Before getting sick Harrison led a life typical of many sixteen-year-old boys in his lakeside community in rural Guatemala. He got along well with his parents, two older brothers, and little sister. He successfully finished another year in school and enjoyed drawing and playing sports. His basketball team, called “New Generation,” practiced each day after school, and they won the last tournament in which Harrison played. Now Harrison’s kidney failure is preventing him from participating in family life, attending school, and playing basketball. Harrison dreams of returning to the court to play with his friends and wants to go back to school to study industrial mechanics so that one day he can work with big machines. His family works hard to provide for themselves and want the best for Harrison, but they cannot afford the treatment that Harrison needs. Watsi funding will give Harrison life-saving treatment and an opportunity to continue pursuing his dreams. He will start peritoneal dialysis, a treatment typically occupying several hours and ocurring every day in which a cleansing fluid is circulated through the abdominal cavity to absorb waste products and then removed. The process removes salt, waste, and excess water from the blood, helps control blood pressure, and regulates levels of potassium, sodium, and bicarbonate in the blood to keep the body in balance. We will construct a clean room in his home which he can use specifically to administer his in-home dialysis. This ensures sterility and gives him the ability to perform the dialysis regularly and independently. Our team will visit his house on a regular basis, make sure he and his family are properly trained in how to perform dialysis, provide him with any necessary medications, and help him and his family make any lifestyle changes necessary to best support Harrison’s health. With this treatment Harrison will be able to live a relatively normal life, even with his failing kidneys.
34-year-old Odilla has had rheumatoid arthritis for eleven years. She normally relies on anti-inflammatories and painkillers to keep her swelling down and her discomfort at bay. After her partner left her recently, Odilla lost one of her family’s key income sources, and now spends what little money she comes by on her ten-year-old son’s basic needs. “Odilla does not have the money to provide her son with an education as well as buy herself medication, so she has not been taking her medication,” explains our medical partner, Wuqu’ Kawoq. Without her medication, “Odilla gets severe flare-ups in her hands and her left knee every couple weeks,” says Wuqu’ Kawoq. “When that happens, her knee gets red, swollen and infected, and makes it hard for her to walk around the rural mountainous community in Guatemala that she lives in.” Her arthritis also makes her hand so inflamed that “she has a hard time weaving textiles, which is her primary form of income.” But with our help, Odilla will not longer have to choose between her son’s well-being and her own. For $367, our medical partner will provide Odilla with a four-month supply of the anti-inflammatory and painkiller medications she needs in order to keep her arthritis under control. This sum will also pay for lab tests so doctors can monitor her progression. “I want to see my son grow, and be able to educate him in a better way,” shares Odilla. “I also want my pain to go away."
Rosa has been suffering from severe pain in her knees, ankles, wrists, and elbows for the past fifteen years because of rheumatoid arthritis. Rosa has known about her diagnosis for many years, but has been unable to afford the medical care she needs to improve her symptoms because she is also diabetic and needs to buy those medications. Rosa has been relying on over the counter pain medications from the local pharmacy to treat her joint pain, but they don't work well enough to alleviate the pain of daily activities. Rosa has to take several breaks in her 10 minute walk to work in order to be able to stand the pain. Rosa lives with her youngest daughter, who is 17, in a one-room adobe house. Her other two children are married and have children. Her two grandchildren, who are two and a half years old and two months old are the lights of her life! Since she and her husband are separated, she has been supporting her children by herself with only her small salary as a shopkeeper in a traditional Mayan textile shop. She often sacrifices food for herself in order to help her children and grandchildren. Medical care for her arthritis has seemed like a luxury she cannot afford. With $367, Rosa will receive medications to control her symptoms, prevent future arthritic episodes, and help her get back to her daily life. Treatment will help restore her range of motion, help her be able to walk longer distances without having to stop, and allow her to run and play with her grandkids! Rosa says, "I want to regain my health because there are days when I have been in very bad health. Sometimes it gets so bad that I can't walk. What I want is to be able to walk and move forward with my life."
Meet Norma, a 10-year-old girl from Guatemala. “Norma is in second grade and loves physical education class, but wishes she could play more,” shares our medical partner, Wuqu’ Kawoq (WK). Norma has severe asthma, and she regularly experiences asthma attacks. “She cannot play with the other kids, and, even when she feels well, she fears that if she joins them for a soccer match or a run around the coffee fields, she will have an attack," WK says. Norma has gone several years without treatment. Her father works as a construction worker and her mother tends to the house, and they are unable to afford any treatment. For $595, Norma will receive an inhaler and the medication necessary to help her control her asthma. “She will no longer need to live in fear of having an asthma attack in front of her friends, and will be able to exercise freely,” reports WK. Norma, who dreams of becoming a teacher, tells us, “I just want to run like a normal kid. I like watching fútbol (soccer), but playing is more fun.”
Abi is an eight-year-old girl from Guatemala. She lives with her older sister and parents in a one-room house made of bamboo and adobe. Her older sister is her best friend, and they are constantly together playing and talking. Her father works in agriculture, which means that her family only have a few dollars per day to live on. This means that her parents would have to choose between paying for her school and clothes and her inhalers. About two years ago, Abi started to have a severe cough, difficulty breathing, and constantly felt tired. She had to stop playing sports and running around with her friends, since every time she did it she felt like she could not breathe. When she went to the local government-run health outpost, they told her that she had pneumonia, but the treatment they gave her did not help. Abi's parents have tried to buy her inhalers to help her breathe since they thought that she might have asthma. The inhalers didn't seem to help and they were no longer able to afford them, which left Abi with the risk of having life-threatening asthma attacks. Since her condition is dangerous, she was provided with an emergency inhaler to use until she could have a personalized treatment plan, which combines a pill and an inhaler treatment to prevent future asthma attacks. This treatment will give Abi the chance to have a normal childhood. Inhalers will help her breathe normally, run, play, and walk around her mountainous village without becoming dangerously out of breath. Abi's mother will also no longer be worried about her daughter having an asthma attack at school, and will relieve some of their financial stress. Abi's mother said, "I hope that Abi can play and run and most importantly participate in the activities at school like any other little girl or boy."
María is a 52-year-old weaver from Guatemala who suffers from asthma. She has eight children and makes a living by weaving and selling the traditional Mayan textiles of her village. Ten years ago, María began to notice the onset of asthmatic symptoms. She experienced increased difficulty while breathing, had daily coughing fits, and tired easily from walking. Due to the treatment's expenses, María has never been able to see a doctor for her asthma. On June 9, María will receive treatment for acute asthma. Our medical partner, Wuqu’ Kawoq, is requesting $422 to fund this treatment, which includes consultation and medications. This treatment will relieve María of her fatigue and coughing fits, thereby helping her work comfortably and take care of her family. María says, “I wish to be well and live for many more years so that I can see my grandchildren grow up and graduate from school.”
Abidel is a four-year-old boy from Guatemala. Our medical partner, Wuqu’ Kawoq (WK), explains: "Abidel was born with a club foot. His family made a lot of sacrifices to get him surgery, since he was unable to walk--they spent most of their life savings trying to find a surgeon that could help. When they finally found a foreign surgeon that gave them a discount, he received surgery (about 1 year ago), but it wasn't totally successful." "He still can't walk on his own without falling, and they've tried physical therapy, and various other interventions but they haven't helped--and now they are out of money," WK continues. "A few months ago, Abdiel tried to run, and he fell and hit his head, getting a concussion. This made his grandmother worried that he wouldn't be safe at school, where she couldn't watch him, so he has not been able to attend school yet, and for this reason his grandma says he's lonely because he doesn't have any friends." Due to their limited income, Abidel’s family is not able to cover the cost of the leg lengthening orthotic he needs. $367 will allow him access to the care that he needs to walk normally for the first time. "This treatment will greatly improve the quality of Abdiel's life, and make his grandmother much less worried about him. The orthopedic brace will help him learn how to walk and run normally, allowing him not only to attend school, but make it less likely that he will be bullied, and allow him the opportunity to make friends," WK adds. "He will be able to play soccer without falling down. This will allow him to be much more independent, and relieve the stress his grandmother has been feeling about his health and future ability to support himself and a family." "Abidel is such a good boy. I want him to be able to work in the future and support his family," his grandmother shares. "I want to fight for his well-being and make sure the door is open for him to reach for his dreams."
Gustavo is a three-year-old boy who lives in Guatemala with his parents and older brother. He enjoys playing soccer with his brother, watching dogs play in his front yard, and crawling after the chickens that roam through his home. “Gustavo has epilepsy and, as a result, has had convulsions regularly since he was barely one-year-old,” our medical partner, Wuqu’ Kawoq, tells us. “He is not on medication and his mother is currently afraid to leave the house with him because she fears he will have a convulsion in public. There is no way that Gustavo’s family can afford the medication, physician visits, and labs he needs to keep his convulsions under control.” “Without intervention, he will continue to have regular seizures which will affects his ability to physically grow and mentally develop,” Wuqu’ Kawoq continues. “It is common to see children with epilepsy not seek an education out of fear of having a seizure in front of their classmates and out of the safety of their parent’s watchful eyes.” $745 will fund medication and regular counseling for Gustavo to treat and manage his convulsions. “He will undergo a lab work-up to rule out any other possible conditions he may have,” says Wuqu’ Kawoq. “Best of all, Gustavo will have access to a more full life. His mother will not have to live in fear of her child having a seizure and, as a result, Gustavo will be freer to play with other kids, eventually attend school, and just be a kid.” “I just want my son to grow well and go to school to become a professional, perhaps a doctor,” shares Gustavo’s mother.
Eight-year-old Luis lives with his mother and his older sister Maribel in Guatemala. His is being raised by a single mother, who works hard cleaning neighbor's homes to earn money for her two children to go to school and eat. Luis is in second grade, and loves studying and playing with his friends and older sister. Luis is thought to have a rare genetic condition called Parry-Romberg Syndrome. This has made the tissues on one side of his face shrink, making his teeth move, and puts him at risk of future seizures due to neurological abnormalities. His mother first noticed a strange red mark on her son's face when he was two, and thought it was a bad mosquito bite. Then, it grew, and a large part of his face has now atrophied, causing him headaches because of his crooked teeth. Most worrisome, though, is his future risk of seizures. His mother says that he has had one seizure before and that she is scared that he will have more. That is why his mother brought him to our clinic to have him evaluated, and why it is so important that he receives an MRI to visualize his abnormalities and give him an appropriate medication. His mother works hard, but she barely makes enough to support herself and her two kids, and cannot afford the high-quality medical care her son needs. $967 will fund the treatment that Luis needs. This treatment will give Luis the medications and expensive imaging he needs. His mother will no longer be scared about his future due to his condition, and he will be able to attend school without fear of having a seizure, giving him the chance to live an independent and full life. In his interview with the Wuqu' Kawoq medical staff, Luis said: "I want to be a fireman when I grow up but my mom wants me to be a successful professional."
Joshua is an eight-month-old baby boy who lives with his parents and older brother in Guatemala. His older brother loves playing with Joshua whenever he can. Our medical partner, Wuqu’ Kawoq (WK), tells us, “Joshua was born with Noonan syndrome, which is a congenital disorder that can lead to a plethora of physical and mental defects, including various heart murmurs, restrictive lung function, gastrointestinal issues and difficulty feeding, motor delays, learning disabilities, cryptorchidism, bleeding disorders, severe joint and skeletal pain, and neurological defects.” “Joshua has obvious physical deformations and cryptorchidism (an undescended testicle), but overall, he is a happy, calm child,” WK continues. “He currently has issues eating and could benefit from supplementation, as well as from physical therapies to help his muscular development.” Joshua’s father works as a grain trader to support the family, while his mother tends to the household. Joshua’s brother has a condition that required surgery by specialist, leaving very little money to pay for Joshua’s care. For $1,385, Joshua can undergo a thorough diagnostic work-up, which, WK explains, will “identify other potentially dangerous conditions Joshua may have, and allow us to coordinate critical care before it is too late.” Funding also covers the cost of treatment, therapy, and a case manager to help Joshua’s family manage his appointments and monitor his progress. “Therapy will help him to develop strength and be able to move more easily,” says WK. “This will increase his quality of life as he grows and ensure he can have the best future possible.” “We just want what is best for our boys,” shares Joshua’s father.
Linda is a three-year-old girl from Guatemala. A few years ago, Linda's older sister passed away from symptoms consistent with Rett syndrome, a neurodevelopmenal disorder resulting in delayed development. However, she was never properly diagnosed, as her family could not afford diagnostic tests. Linda is now showing the same symptoms as her sister. Linda was born a seemingly healthy child, however, “Around the age of 2 1/2 she started to lose development milestones—she used to be able to talk and walk and slowly that dissolved,” says our medical partner, Wuqu' Kawoq (WK). "Now, she has lost the ability to walk, talk or communicate in any way. She has muscle contraction in her hands and legs and has difficulty controlling her movements." WK suspects that Linda has a metabolic disorder such as Tay-Sachs disease or Rett syndrome. Given Linda’s sister’s early death and her mother’s pregnancy history, Rett syndrome is a possible diagnosis. A confirmed diagnosis is needed to help Linda and her family plan how to best care for her. With $1385, Linda will receive a full workup screening for conditions associated with developmental delays, receive routine physical therapy, and receive anti-epileptic medication to decrease muscle convulsions and allow her more comfort. “I will take her anywhere, wherever she needs to go to get care,” says Linda’s mother. “If it’s for her I want to fight."
Meet Jose, a three-year-old boy from Guatemala. Jose was adopted when he was a baby by his loving adoptive parents. “Norma, Jose’s adopted mother, was married for years but could never have kids since she had to have a hysterectomy when she was a teenager," shares our medical partner, Wuqu’ Kawoq (WK). "Norma was thrilled to be able to take Jose in, and has been very happy with him.” Over time though, Norma began to notice that Jose was not developing at the same rate as other children. “Jose is suffering from severe developmental delays and seizures due to congenital hydrocephalus. He was diagnosed when he was one-year-old when he first started to have seizures, but his family has not been able to afford therapy or medications for him,” WK tells us. As of now, Jose can move his hands and hold a ball over his head, but he is having trouble sleeping and has seizures almost everyday. “Since Jose needs constant supervision, his mom has not been able to work, which makes it hard for their family to afford basic necessities,” shares WK. Treatment for Jose costs $1,385, which consists of a full medical workup to clarify his diagnosis, medications for his seizures, intensive physical therapy, and social support for the family. WK shares that these efforts will "help lessen the economic stress that the family has been under with his condition, since all imaging, medications, physical therapy, and medical visits will be included free of charge for them. This treatment will give Jose the chance to become much more independent, mobile, and will decrease the frequency of his seizures…helping Jose reach his full potential, and help to work through the stigma of his developmental delay.” Jose’s mother says that Jose is very smart and she cannot wait for him to start therapy. "My dream is to see my son walk and run," says his mother.