Erica joined Watsi on April 7th, 2015. Five years ago, Erica joined our Universal Fund, supporting life-changing treatments for a new Watsi patient every month. Erica's most recent donation traveled 8,500 miles to support Brian, a newborn from Kenya, to fund corrective surgery.
Erica has funded healthcare for 68 patients in 12 countries.
Erica has funded healthcare for 68 patients in 12 countries.
Brian was born one month ago at our medical partner's care center, Kijabe Hospital. He is the first baby for his young family. Brian's father works in a newly opened bakery while his mother makes and sells pots to earn a living. His father lives in Kariobangi and mother stays with her mother in-law in an area called Bomet. Immediately after his birth, Brian was examined by the doctor and found that he was not able to pass stool. The doctor consulted with the pediatric surgery team and diagnosed him with anorectal malformations. Brian was referred to our medical partner's care center, BethanyKids, immediately and was admitted in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit for close monitoring. Later, Brian had a colostomy to enable him pass stool with funding from the Watsi community. He has healed well and is now scheduled for his next treatment, a PSARP surgery, to allow for stool passage. Brian’s father shares his appreciation for Watsi's support during his son's first surgery, and says: “We are thankful to God for he answered our prayers through the Watsi program. We are still requesting for more financial help for the second surgery.”
Marilyn is a 10-month-old baby girl from a small town in Colombia. She lives with her mother, grandmother, three aunts and one uncle, who is a farmer. Marilyn has clubfoot, a condition in which her foot is twisted out of shape. This causes difficulty walking and even wearing shoes. Fortunately, Marilyn's family traveled to visit our medical partner, Clínica Noel, where surgeons will perform clubfoot repair surgery on July 26th. Now, Clínica Noel is requesting $1,422 to fund Marilyn's life-changing procedure. After treatment, she will be able to start walking and running after her dreams as she grows. Her mother shared, "my biggest dream is for her to get well soon, to see her walking and running as a normal child, with no pain or anything."
Jeremiah is a 26-year-old construction worker and a married father a two-year-old. His wife works at a local tea plantation, while he works at a construction site. On May 8th, Jeremiah was involved in a traffic accident on the highway. He had visited a local market and was on a motorbike on his way home. As they were turning a corner, they collided head-on with a car. He suffered fractures in his tibia and femur. He is not able to stand or walk without support, and he is in severe pain. Fortunately, surgeons at our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare (AMH), can help. On May 13th, Jeremiah will undergo a fracture repair procedure called an open reduction and internal fixation. This procedure will help him walk easily again. Now, AMH is requesting $1,500 to fund this procedure. Jeremiah shared, “the accident was sudden and caught me off guard. I do not have enough savings considering we almost live from hand to mouth. This surgery is important to me to walk again.”
Say is a four-year-old boy who lives with his mother, brother, sister, and grandfather in a refugee camp on the border of Thailand. His father returned to Burma to visit his village last year. When Thailand closed its borders because of the COVID-19 outbreak, his father could not come back to the camp. Say's grandfather is an assistant pastor in the camp and he receives his income through donations when he visits his church members for home prayers. Say goes to nursery school while both of his siblings go to primary school. His mother does all the household chores. Every month, their household receives some funding to purchase rations in the camp, which is just enough for their basic needs. They receive free healthcare and education in the camp, but specialized procedures like the care that Say needs are often not possible. In early February 2021, Say developed an inguinal hernia on his right side, which has resulted in swelling and pain. His mother has noticed that since he developed the hernia, his appetite has decreased, as eating more can sometimes cause additional discomfort. Fortunately, on March 25th, he will undergo hernia repair surgery at Mae Sot General Hospital, our medical partner's care center. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is requesting $1,500 to fund Say's hernia repair surgery. The procedure is scheduled to take place on March 25th and, once completed, will hopefully allow him to live more comfortably. Say's mother said, "When I heard that my son needs surgery, I became so worried because he is the youngest in our family." She is eager for the surgery to be complete and for Say to have healed.
Yeabsera is a six-year-old boy from Ethiopia and an only child. Yeabsera loves to watch TV and play with his friends. His mom is a housewife and is unable to work because she has health problems. His dad works in a government office and farms part-time. Yeabsera was born with hypospadias, a condition that causes urinary dysfunction. Without treatment, he will continue to experience uncomfortable symptoms and will be at risk of infertility in the future. Fortunately, Yeabsera is scheduled to undergo corrective surgery on April 1st. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare, is requesting $1,293 to cover the total cost of his procedure and care. Yeabsera's mom shared, “I look forward to Yeabsera getting a good education. I was sick and I saw how doctors helped me. And I am looking for doctors to help my child. I want him to become a doctor and help a lot of others.”
Su is a 16-year-old girl from Burma. She has three siblings. Su’s mother is a home maker, and her older brother works as a day labourer. Su and her youngest sister are students and this year Su is in grade seven. Her family's combined monthly income is around 200,000 kyat (approx. 200 USD) per month, which is just enough for their daily expenses, but not enough to pay for basic healthcare. When she has free time, Su loves to play football with her friends at school and she likes to be the goalkeeper. She also loves to read books and watch movies. Su plans to continue her studies as soon as she finishes her treatment. Su was diagnosed with a heart condition that involves a malformation of the mitral valve, the valve between the left atrium and left ventricle. This valve controls the flow of blood, but certain conditions may cause blood to flow backward or the valve to narrow. Currently, Su still feels tired, but not as much as before she started taking her medication. When she feels more tired, her breath quickens. Su has stopped attending school since she got sick. Although she wants to go back to school, her mother worries for her as her school is a little far and she normally walks there. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is requesting $1,500 to fund a mitral valve replacement for Su. The treatment is scheduled to take place on February 12nd and, once completed, will hopefully allow her to live more comfortably. Su's mother shared, “Su really wants to go to school but I worry that the long walking distance from our house to her school will make her tired and worsen her condition. So, I asked her to stay home for a while until she can get treated.”
Sabel is a 5-year-old boy from Tanzania. He is the third born in a family of four children. Sabel’s father is a small scale farmer and his mother is a homemaker. They work hard to meet their family's basic needs. Sabel was born a healthy child, but when he was born, his umbilical cord was wrapped around his thigh and knee. As a result, he had to undergo a below-the-knee amputation, and the surgery was successful. However, the operation site is not closing properly. If not treated, Sabel could develop a severe infection in this area so the medical team wants to make sure he heals well. Fortunately, our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is helping Sabel receive treatment. On February 9th, surgeons will perform a skin graft procedure. This treatment will allow Sabel's wound to heal well and, once he is fully recovered, he will be able to be fitted for a prosthetic. Now, Sabel's family needs help to fund this $747 procedure. Sabel’s mother shared, “His wound has taken a long time to heal and the doctors have advised he needs a skin graft surgery which we can’t afford. Please help him."
Shamra is a 3-year-old baby girl from Tanzania. She is the firstborn of two children in her family. Shamra has clubfoot of her left foot. Clubfoot is a condition in which the foot is twisted out of shape. This causes her difficulty with walking and wearing shoes. She needs surgery to help re-position her foot correctly. Currently, Shamra and her sibling are being looked after by their grandmother because their mother has been sick for a long time and is unable to care for herself and her children. Given her age, their grandmother shared with us that she is really struggling to provide and care for both her daughter and and her grandchildren. Shamra’s grandmother sells boiled maize and groundnuts by the roadside in order to feed and care for her sick daughter and her grandchildren. Shamra's father has been absent for some time and does not provide support for their family. Their family appeals for financial support for the care that Shamra needs. Fortunately, Shamra traveled to visit our medical partner's care center, Arusha Lutheran Medical Centre. There, surgeons will perform clubfoot repair surgery and ongoing treatment starting on January 19th. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $935 to fund Shamra's clubfoot repair. After treatment, she will be able to walk and play easily again. Shamra’s grandmother shared, “Please help my granddaughter as we are going through a very challenging situation and we have no means to raise the money we need. Thank you for any support you can provide.”
U Win is a 54-year-old man who lives with his wife and youngest son in the Ayeyarwaddy Division in Burma. He has three sons and three daughters, with five of his children already married and working. His 17-year-old son left school because they were unable to pay school fees, and worked as a day laborer until COVID-19 happened. U Win used to work as a day laborer as well, but stopped working around two years ago due to his health condition. His family survives on 60,000 kyat (approx. 60 USD) each month that U Win's three other daughters and another son send them, enough to cover their basic expenses. In January 2012, U Win felt tired, had a headache, suffered from heart palpitations, and a rapid heartbeat. He went to a clinic where the doctor listened to his heart with a stethoscope and checked his blood pressure. U Win was told that he has high blood pressure and that he would need to take oral medication for a long time. He received an injection, oral medication, and another appointment for more medication. After he took the medication, he felt better and he went back to work. However, U Win continued to experience worsening symptoms over the next few years, returning to clinics and receiving the same treatment. He was told at one point to visit a cardiologist, but did not do so until later on. In August 2020, during another clinic visit in Yangon, the doctor diagnosed U Win with an atrial septal defect, and said that he would need to receive surgery to repair this hole in his heart. If not treated, the condition could weaken his heart further and cause lung problems later on. He was unable to receive surgery in November due to an upsurge in COVID-19 cases, and was also told the procedure would cost about 3,000,000 kyat (approx. 3,000 USD). Luckily, U Win’s wife remembered that there is a charity group in Yangon that might be able to help. The group told him about our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, to look for assistance with accessing the treatment he needed. U Win currently experiences chest pain and back pain, has no appetite, and cannot sleep well at night. He appeals for financial support for his cost of care. Fortunately, surgeons at our medical partner can help. On December 20th, U Win will undergo an atrial septal defect closure procedure. Once recovered, his quality of life will significantly improve and he will be able to return to work. Now, our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is requesting $1,500 to fund this procedure. U Win shared, “I want to get better soon so that I can work for my family again. I am worried about my family’s future because we cannot find work in the village. My son also cannot go to Yangon to find another job because of COVID-19 travel restrictions.”
Thein is a 33-year-old man from Burma. He lives with his wife in Yangon, while his daughter lives with his aunt. He and his wife are vendors at the main bus station. In his free time, Thein likes to go to the tea shop with his friend and talk about work. In the future, he would like to become a motorcycle broker, where he believes he could earn a more steady income. Unfortunately, Thein has been unable to work since March 2020. At the time, he often felt too tired or unwell to work. Upon seeking care, Thein was diagnosed with a heart condition involving a malformation of the mitral valve, which is the valve between the left atrium and left ventricle. This valve controls the flow of blood, but certain conditions may cause blood to flow backward or the valve to narrow. Currently, Thein has difficulty breathing and feels tired when he does not receive oxygen or an intravenous drip. He cannot sleep well at night and has to take sleeping pills to help him get rest. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is requesting $1,500 to fund a mitral valve replacement procedure for Thein. The treatment is scheduled to take place on November 13th and, once completed, will hopefully allow him to live more comfortably and improve his quality of life. Thein shared, “After I have recovered fully, I will go back to work. I will try to search for a job that pays better so that I can pay off my debt. After I have paid back my debt, I will save money for my family’s future. I want my daughter to complete her studies.”
Johnelson is a young boy from Kenya. His mother brought him and his sister to Nandi County, Kenya, to live with his grandmother while she looked for work. In August 2020, while at home playing with other children in the kitchen area, Johnelson accidentally fell in the three stone firewood cooking stove where his grandmother had just removed boiling water and left the fire to cool. Having fallen with the back of his head first in the fire, Johnelson was unable to pull himself out. Hearing Johnelson's playmates' cries, his grandmother rushed back from helping a local medical practitioner who was attending Johnelson’s sick grandfather. Johnelson suffered severe scalp burns. Though she was advised to take him to the hospital, his grandmother was not able to raise the funds required to take him to the hospital for care. One month later, after talking to friends and some relatives, she took him to a nearby facility. She had not yet informed Johnelson's mother, fearing she would be angry. Upon arrival, Johnelson was admitted for a few days for washing and dressing to reduce the risk of infection as the wounds were in a bad state. A few weeks later, during the burial of his grandfather, Johnelson’s mother and other relatives learnt about his worsened condition. His mother brought him to Watsi's Medical Partner's Care Center Kijabe Hospital, where the doctor examined him and recommended a debridement and skin grafting surgery to be performed on the back of his head. Without treatment, he will remain in constant pain and his wounds may become infected. Johnelson's surgery is a large financial burden for his family and they are unable to personally raise the amount needed to fund the procedure. His mother mostly does laundry for people. When she can’t find work, she does any other work she comes across to support her mother and her two children. Johnelson’s grandmother is a farmer and relies on the produce she gets from the farm and from Johnelson’s mother. They are appealing for financial help. Fortunately, our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare, is helping Johnelson receive treatment. On October 19th, surgeons will perform a debridement and skin graft procedure on his scalp. This will help limit the risk of wound infection. Now, Johnelson needs help to fund this $1,185 procedure. Johnelson’s mother says, “Having to take care of my son in this condition, it really pains me to know that I cannot do anything for him to get the required treatment. Any financial help will be very much appreciated.”
Megan is a 3-month old baby girl from Tanzania, and the only child to her single mother. Megan was born with clubfoot and spina bifida, which contributed to her acquiring hydrocephalus. Megan’s father left their family when her mother was five months pregnant and they lost any contact with him. Megan's grandmother, who was also a single mom after her husband passed away at a young age, depends on selling second-hand clothes. Her income is very limited to be able to provide for her children and be able to afford school fees. Due to this, Megan's mother was not able to continue with her studies due to financial challenges and joined her mother in selling second hand clothes. Megan has been diagnosed with hydrocephalus, a condition in which excess cerebrospinal fluid accumulates in the brain and increases intracranial pressure. As a result of her condition, Megan has been experiencing an increasing head circumference. Without treatment, Megan will experience severe physical and developmental delays. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $1,300 to cover the cost of surgery for Megan that will treat her hydrocephalus. The procedure is scheduled to take place on September 21st and will drain the excess fluid from Megan's brain. This will reduce intracranial pressure and greatly improve her quality of life. With proper treatment, Megan will hopefully develop into a strong, healthy young girl. Megan’s mother says, “I have no one to run to for help and support, all my relatives have told me they can no longer support us in any way and yet my daughter is suffering. Please help save my daughter.”