Marco joined Watsi on July 23rd, 2016. Six years ago, Marco joined our Universal Fund, supporting life-changing treatments for a new Watsi patient every month. Marco's most recent donation supported Katweensly, a 16 year old student from Haiti, to fund prep and travel for heart surgery.
Marco has funded healthcare for 96 patients in 11 countries.
Marco has funded healthcare for 96 patients in 11 countries.
Meet Katweensly, a 16 year old student, living with her mother and siblings in a small town in Haiti, near the border with the Dominican Republic. Katweensly, who is a junior in high school, particularly enjoys her math and science classes. As a young child, Katweensly suffered a bout of rheumatic fever, which damaged one of the four valves in her heart. As a result, her heart cannot pump blood efficiently through her body, leaving her feeling weak and short of breath. Thanks to the help of our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance, Katweensly is scheduled to travel to the Dominican Republic for surgery, which is scheduled for November 10th, at Hospital CEDIMAT. There, doctors will first try to repair the damaged valve. If they are unable to do this, they will implant an artificial valve. Another organization, Mitral Foundation, is helping supporting the cost of the surgery, but Katweensly's family needs an additional $1,500 to pay for lab tests, medicines, and follow up appointments that are a part of her overall treatment. In addition, support will help cover the travel costs and ensure a social worker from Haiti Cardiac Alliance can support the family during treatment in the Dominican Republic. Katweensly said: "I am feeling very happy to finally have the chance to have my heart repaired after waiting for so long."
Exavier is an adorable 5-month-old baby from Haiti who has been diagnosed with hydrocephalus, a condition in which excess cerebrospinal fluid accumulates in the brain and increases intracranial pressure. As a result of his condition, Exavier's head circumference has increased. Without treatment, he will experience severe physical and developmental delays. Our medical partner, Project Medishare, is requesting $897 to cover the cost of surgery for Exavier at Hospital Bernard Mevs. This is the only site in the country where this care is currently available, and the procedure is scheduled to take place on August 26th. This critical treatment will drain the excess fluid from his brain to reduce intracranial pressure and greatly improve his quality of life. With proper treatment, Exavier will hopefully develop into a strong, healthy young boy. Exavier's family shares that they hope the surgery with allow him to grow, attend school, and play with the other children.
Jonathan is a courageous fire officer from the Philippines. He lives with and helps support his siblings and elderly mother. He works to provide their family's sole income. Last month, Jonathan began to experience pain and other troubling symptoms that caused him to seek medical attention. He was diagnosed with mixed hemorrhoids, or a combination of internal and external hemorrhoids. This condition causes the veins of the lower rectum to become swollen. He requires surgery to prevent his symptoms from getting worse. Fortunately, our medical partner, World Surgical Foundation Philippines (WSFP), is helping Jonathan receive treatment. He is scheduled to undergo a hemorrhoidectomy on August 20th at WSFP's care center. During this procedure, surgeons will remove his hemorrhoids. A portion of the cost of his treatment is being supported by the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, and WSFP is raising the remaining $1,137 to cover the cost of Jonathan's procedure and care. Jonathan shares, "This disease hinders me from doing my job. I'm the only one who works in our family. If I can't work, I won't be able to provide for our needs, so this surgery is a big help for me. To Watsi and World Surgical Foundation Philippines, thank you so much for your kind hearts. May you not get tired of helping the needy."
Faustin is an adorable one-month-old baby from Tanzania who is the third child in her family. To support their family, her father is a small-scale subsistence farmer, and her mother is a homemaker. Her parents share that the income they earn is enough to sustain their basic needs. Since Faustine was born, her mother has been to several hospitals seeking medical care for her condition. Faustin was born with clubfoot, a condition in which the foot is twisted out of shape. Her left foot is twisted inward, making it difficult for her to straighten it. If not treated, she will experience difficulty walking and wearing shoes when she grows up. Fortunately, Faustin's family traveled to our medical partner's care center, Arusha Lutheran Medical Centre, to seek medical treatment. On August 9th, surgeons there will perform clubfoot repair surgery. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $935 to fund Faustin's clubfoot repair, which will allow her to grow up in good health. Faustine's mother says, "I feel so blessed knowing that my daughter will get treatment and grow up to have a normal life."
Chrismarlie is a 13-year-old student from Haiti. She lives with her parents and three siblings in a city on the northern coast of Haiti. Her father is a school administrator, and her mother is a homemaker. Chrismarlie shared that she enjoys going to school and listening to music with her friends. Chrismarlie has a cardiac condition called pulmonic stenosis, which means one of her heart valves is too tight, making it difficult for blood to pass through and leading to heart failure. The surgery that she needs is not available in Haiti, but fortunately, Chrismarlie will be able to fly to the Dominican Republic to receive treatment. On July 29th, she will undergo cardiac surgery, during which the surgeons will widen the heart valve so that blood can flow through it more easily. Chrismarlie's family is raising funds to cover the costs of her surgery prep, as our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance (HCA), is contributing funds to help cover the cost of surgery. The $1,500 will support her surgery prep, which includes all labs, medication, check-ups and follow-up appointments, and the passports needed for HCA's social workers to accompany Chrismarlie and her family overseas. Chrismarlie said, "I would like to say thank you to everyone who is helping to fix my heart problem!"
Josiah is a laborer who gets work whenever he can at local construction sites. He also works as an artisan in the jua kali sector (informal economy). His wife also works as a casual laborer, washing clothes for a living. They live in their ancestral home in the outskirts of the capital city of Nairobi. Josiah has pain and swelling that has lasted for a week now, and is preventing him from working. When the pain medication prescribed for him didn't work, an ultrasound and CT scan revealed a right inguinal-scrotal hernia and surgery is needed to heal. Fortunately, on May 18th, he will undergo hernia repair surgery at our medical partner's care center. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare, is requesting $684 to fund Josiah's surgery. Once completed, this procedure will hopefully allow him to live more comfortably and confidently. Josiah says, “This condition is embarrassing and I have not been able to talk to about it. But it is worsening and affecting my lifestyle. I have no choice but to seek help. Sadly, I am also unable to afford the cost of the treatment.”
Myo Htay is a 22-year-old who lives with his parents and younger brother in the border region of Burma. His parents work as day laborers at a gold mine, carrying dirt and debris. Myo used to work with his parents but stopped last November when his health deteriorated. Because the gold mine closes during the rainy season, his parents only have work for six months out of the year. The rest of the time they try to live off of their savings. Around six months ago, Myo started to feel tired when he worked. At first he thought he was tired from working too hard. When he continued to feel tired for over a month, he thought that he needed to see a doctor. However, because of their limited funds, he did not want his parents to spend what they had on a trip to a clinic or a hospital. Around the middle of April, his condition worsened. He had difficulty breathing, experienced chest pain, and also heart palpitations. His parents brought him to a nearby hospital where he was diagnosed with a heart disease. The doctor told them to bring him to Yangon for further treatment. After Myo's parents borrowed money, they went to Yangon and took him to two different hospitals. At the last hospital, Myo was admitted for five days as he was unwell at that time. He received a follow-up appointment for two weeks later, but was brought back on April 30th when he developed rapid breathing, heart palpitations, chest pain and oedema (swelling) in both his legs. Myo was readmitted to the hospital, and the doctor told Myo's parents that his surgery would cost 20,000,000 kyat (approx. $11,000 USD). When they told the doctor that they cannot afford to pay for his surgery, a nurse gave them the phone number of an abbot in Yangon. After they called the abbot and told him what the doctor had said, the abbot referred Myo to our medical parter Burma Children Medical Fund for the assistance accessing the cardiac treatment he needs. Currently, Myo is on oxygen. If he does not receive oxygen, he has difficulty breathing as well as heart palpitations. He cannot walk for more than three minutes and if he does, he feels extremely tired. His whole family is worried about his condition. Fortunately, Myo's surgery has been scheduled for May 8th. He will have both valves of his heart replaced. His family needs $1,500 to help with the total cost of his surgery and care. Myo’s mother said, “I would give up everything to save my son’s life. I would sleep on the ground if we had no home to live in. I only wish to see my son getting better.”
Mab is a 34-year-old electrician. He has two children, with his oldest son is seven years old and his newborn daughter at two months old. In Mab's free time, he enjoys playing volleyball with his friends. Last December, Mab was in a motorcycle accident that caused a brachial plexus injury on his left side. The brachial plexus is the nerve network that transmits signals from the spine to the shoulder, arm, and hand. Injuries to this nerve network can result in a loss of function and sensation. After the accident, Mab's family took him to a local hospital for treatment; however, his left arm is still immobile, and he has shoulder pain. The doctors referred him to our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre (CSC), for review, where they determined his shoulder is partially dislocated, and he has no elbow or wrist flexion. CSC is the only treatment center in the country that can help Mab receive the treatment he needs. On April 5th, he will undergo brachial plexus repair surgery that will allow him to use his hand again. CSC is requesting $696 for the cost of this surgery. Mab was able to gather $100 to contribute to his care, as well. Mab says, "I hope my arm will regain strength, and I can return to work."
Karen is a hardworking and independent woman. She is the second-born in a family of four children. To make a living, Karen sells clothes in a neighborhood of the capital city of Nairobi in Kenya. In February, Karen was removing a gas cylinder from a shelf when it fell on her hand. She visited a local clinic where pain medication was prescribed, but she did not experience relief. After an x-ray, she was diagnosed with a closed fracture on her left hand and surgery was recommended. Fortunately, our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare (AMH), is helping Karen receive treatment. On March 2nd, she will undergo a fracture repair procedure, called an open reduction and internal fixation. After the procedure, she will be able to work normally with no pain. Now, AMH is requesting $1,049 to fund her procedure and care. Karen shared, "I always liked to be an independent lady. This is disturbing since I am not able to work. I request help and will be very grateful so that I can be okay again and continue with my work."
Julius is a 44-year-old man with two children. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Julius used to buy old clothes to sell, but the business was so greatly affected by the pandemic that he has had to search for other work to survive. He now takes on labor jobs at construction sites. Julius was in a hit-and-run accident where a driver lost control of the vehicle and hit him while walking along the side path. Julius was thrown over the car and sustained an open fracture on his left leg. As a result, he is experiencing pain and is at risk of developing an infection or malunion, which occurs when a fractured bone heals in an abnormal position. Fortunately, surgeons at our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare (AMH), can help Julius heal. On February 7th, he will undergo a fracture repair procedure known as an open reduction and internal fixation. After surgery, Julius will no longer be in pain, and he will be able to walk and work again. AMH is requesting $1,049 to fund this procedure. Julius shared, “I depend on my legs because, for construction work, you have to climb. However, I thank God I am alive. I kindly request help so that my leg can get well. I can then go back to my hustles and sustain myself."
Samrach is a 27-year-old clothing factory worker. He's is married with two small children. His daughter is six years old and just starting the first grade, and his son is nine months old. His wife is also a factory worker in their province. He likes to play with his children and listen to music. Ten months ago, on his way home from the factory, Samrach was in a motorcycle crash. He suffered fractures of the femur, clavicle, forearm, and multiple other injuries. He lost his left leg below the knee due to the trauma injury, and spent three months in a provincial hospital. A local taxi driver told him about the specialty care at our medical partner Children's Surgical Center (CSC). Doctors have diagnosed him with a brachial plexus injury on his left side. The brachial plexus is a nerve network that transmits signals from the spine to the shoulder, arm, and hand. Injuries to this nerve network can result in loss of function and sensation. He cannot lift his left shoulder, bend his elbow, or use his hand. He feels unwell and shared that he often feels very depressed that he cannot work or support his family. Samrach traveled to our medical partner's care center to receive treatment. On January 6th, he will undergo a brachial plexus repair surgery. After recovery, he hopes to regain the use of his arm so he can find work in the factory again. Our medical partner is requesting $696 to fund this life-changing procedure. Samrach said: "I hope this surgery will work for me, and I can start working again to have money to feed my children and make sure they go to school."
Movin is a 14-year-old social and jovial boy. Movin likes playing football with his friends. His favorite subject in school is English; he aspires to be a doctor in the future to help those who need surgical care, mostly those with physical conditions. Movin is the 5th born in a family of seven children. His mother is a housewife while his father is a farmer. Their family lives in a two-roomed grass-thatched and mud traditional house in a village in Kenya. Movin was born with bilateral clubfoot deformity. This condition has affected his mobility, he gets tired easily, feels pain out of straining, falls whenever he plays football, and cannot put on shoes well. Movin needs surgery, however, his family is not in a financial position to finance the surgery and they are appealing for financial assistance. Fortunately, Movin traveled to visit our medical partner's care center, AIC Cure International Hospital. There, surgeons will perform clubfoot repair surgery on December 6th. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $1,286 to fund Movin's clubfoot repair. After treatment, he will continue with his education uninterrupted in pursuit of his dream of being a doctor. Movin says, “I would like my foot to be treated so that I can walk like my friends and continue with my education.”