Ruy joined Watsi on April 2nd, 2013. Eight years ago, Ruy joined our Universal Fund, supporting life-changing treatments for a new Watsi patient every month. Ruy's most recent donation traveled 6,200 miles to support Ann, a 34-year-old widowed mother of two from Kenya, to fund laparotomy surgery to remove her gall bladder.
Ruy has funded healthcare for 25 patients in 7 countries.
Ruy has funded healthcare for 25 patients in 7 countries.
Ann is a 34-year-old widow and a mother of two children, ages 13 and 8 years old. She does odd jobs at a nearby small hotel; though she shared that her medical condition makes it hard to work. Ann started having epigastric pains in 2015 and has being treated intermittently for ulcers. She said that sometimes all her income goes to treatment, and yet she doesn’t get well. Recently, the pain became worse, and she was taken to different hospitals over the weekend before being brought to Nazareth Hospital, where she was admitted. A scan showed Cholelithiasis, and since she has severe pain on and off, the Surgeon recommended she should go for Cholecystectomy (surgical removal of the gall bladder) immediately. Unfortunately, her medical insurance (NHIF) did not approve her case, so she needs $788 to fund her surgery. If not treated, Ann will continue to experience the pain and may have complications like pancreatitis, blockage of the gall bladder with inflammation of the gall bladder. She is in severe pain already. “I am desperate, the doctor says I have to be operated on tomorrow but have no money to pay, and NHIF did not approve my application. Any support given, I will appreciate, at least to have my life back. I am the hope of my children who are still young,” said Ann quietly.
Lynemandy is a 28 year old woman from Haiti, who is studying for a business degree at a local university. She lives with her parents in a neighborhood of Port-au-Prince. Lynemandy has a cardiac condition called rheumatic mitral regurgitation, which is a result of a bout of rheumatic fever that she suffered as a child. One of the four valves in her heart was severely damaged as a result of this illness, and in 2018, Lynemandy underwent surgery to repair the damaged valve. The valve functioned well for four years, but now it needs to be replaced so she can live healthy in the future. The care she needs is unfortunately not available within Haiti, so Lynemandy will need to travel to undergo cardiac surgery in the United States on November 17th. Her surgery, during which a new valve will be implanted, is being funded by Baylor Scott & White Heart Hospital. Now Lynemandy and her family need to raise $1,500 to cover the costs of pre and post operative treatment, and for the social workers from our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance, who will accompany Lynemandy when she travels to the United States. Lynemandy said: "I am very grateful to everyone who is working so hard to keep me alive and healthy."
Thein is a 42-year-old woman from Burma. She lives with her husband, son, daughter, mother-in-law and step-granddaughter in Palu Village, Myawaddy Township, Karen State, Burma. Thein’s husband is still recovering from an illness and is also looking after her as her caregiver. Her mother-in-law has impaired vision and is looked after by her children. Her two children stopped going to school in 2020, when schools closed due to COVID-19. After the coup in February 2021, their school never reopened. Thein works as a day laborer and as a farmer, but she has not been able to plant anything this year. In December 2021, she and her family had to flee their village for a month due to armed clashes in their village. After they were able to return, Thein was too scared to go to her farmland since she had been told that the area around the village is full of landmines. It has been a very difficult time for their family as Thein’s house was also destroyed during the armed clashes in their village. They are currently living with Thein’s mother-in-law, whose house partially survived the recent violence and destruction. Thein's family currently lives off of donations that Palu villagers receive as internally displaced peoples (IDPs), and the rice they harvested last year before they had to flee. Since July 2021, Thein has been experiencing backpain when she sits or lays down. She feels better when she is standing or walking. After she eats, she feels bloated and uncomfortable. She has been diagnosed with large abdominal endometriosis. She has been advised to undergo a total abdominal hysterectomy, the surgical removal of her uterus and cervix. If left untreated, Thein's symptoms will continue to worsen and put her at risk for further health complications in the future. Fortunately, Thein is scheduled to undergo her hysterectomy on July 20th. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is requesting $1,500 to cover the total cost of her procedure and care. Once recovered she will no longer be in pain and will be able to sit and lie down comfortably. Despite the hard moment they are in, Thein tries to stay hopeful about rebuilding her life: “When I recover fully, I want to go back to work so that I can earn money. I want to rebuild my house and live there with my family.”
Meet Boniface, a 26-year-old who lives in Kenya with his mother and five siblings. His father and brother passed away a few years ago, so Boniface works in a vehicles' spare shop to help support his mother's income working on their small farm. Last year, Boniface began experiencing painful head migraines. He took over-the-counter medicines to try and alleviate the pain, but when he recently went to the doctor he was diagnosed with both hydrocephalus and a brain tumor. Hydrocephalus is an accumulation of water in the brain that causes increased pressure in the skull. In conjunction to this condition, the tumor has made it difficult for Boniface to see, and he needs assistance with walking because he cannot keep his balance very well. He also had to stop going to work. Boniface already received surgical treatment to drain the accumulated fluids and reduce the cranial pressure, but now surgeons recommend a crainiotomy to remove his tumor. If not treated, Boniface will continue experiencing migraines and risk complete blindness. Furthermore, he will be at risk of the tumor growing and causing more severe complications, even resulting in death. After his operation, Boniface will be able to return home to his family and continue supporting his mother and siblings. "I want to be free from the migraines and continue helping my mother," Boniface shares.
"Dina, a 16-year-old girl from Tanzania, is the fifth-born in a family of eight children," our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation (AMHF), tells us. "She barely managed to complete the last year of her primary school education due to the condition of her legs." Dina has a condition commonly known as knocked knees. Despite the pain, she "did well in her final exams and was chosen to continue with secondary education," continues AMHF. "Dina had no problems with her legs at all until two years ago when her limbs slowly started to bow inwards causing her to knock her knees when walking." Dina currently walks with difficulty, and is unable to run. "She complains of feeling pain on the knees after walking a long distance," AMHF explains. "If not treated, Dina will be at risk of developing osteoarthritis at an early age." Dina will need surgery to treat her knocked knees, but her parents are small-scale farmers and can only afford supporting their family's basic needs. "Dina’s mother also buys and sells charcoal, but still what they earn is not enough to cover the cost of corrective surgery which their daughter needs," says AMHF. $940 will enable Dina to undergo surgery to correct the alignment of her legs so that they no longer hit one another when she walks and runs. This will eliminate her discomfort and prevent her from prematurely developing osteoarthritis. "My wish is to one day become a secondary school teacher," Dina said.
25-year-old Kristine has a happy and outgoing personality. She lives in the Philippines with her mother, and she is loved by her family and fellow church members. She also loves to sing and dance with the other children in their church and community. If the church has an activity, she eagerly offers herself to help with any chores in the activity area. Kristine was born with congenital clubfoot, a condition that impacts her gait. Our medical partner, International Care Ministries (ICM), explains: "Kristine has difficulty in walking because of her left foot deformity. She also has seizure disorder but it is currently managed with medication. Her mother said that she was frequently teased by her classmates when she was still in elementary school because of the way she walked. Since then, she has not joined school; and everyday, she wishes that she could go back even in her age." Treatment for Kristine will cost $1,211, and consists of a surgery to correct her deformity give her a balanced gait, as well as boost her self esteem. It will also fulfill her wishes to go back to school if time and situation permits. Kristine's family was unable to have Kristine undergo surgery earlier because of lack of finances. At their pre-operative interview with ICM, Kristine's mother shared: "I really hope that my child can get treatment. We want to see her well and live normally, but we could not make it happen. She even stopped schooling to avoid bullies because we don't want to see her have emotional pains. We are praying that there could be someone that could help her."
“I want to go back to school and live a normal life,” shares Wesly, a 20-year-old student living in Haiti. Wesly has been diagnosed with a heart defect called mitral and aortic regurgitation. As a result of this condition, two of Wesly’s heart valves cannot pump blood regularly. Wesly's heart is now starting to fail. “Without urgent surgery, this condition would be fatal," says our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance (HCA). Wesly lives with his aunt and grandmother, who have raised him since he was little. He is a junior in high school and he enjoys riding his bike and reading books when he is not working on his dream of becoming a mechanical engineer. HCA has raised $12,000 to cover the cost of Wesly's heart surgery. However, an additional $1,500 is needed to fund surgery preparation and overseas transportation, as this specialized procedure is not readily available in Haiti. During surgery, “one or possibly two artificial valves will be implanted in Wesly’s heart, replacing the damaged ones,” HCA explains. Once he receives surgery, “he should be able to lead a near-normal life although he will require daily blood-thinning medication for the rest of his life, and periodic blood tests.”
40-year-old Taw is a farmer who lives with her husband, son, and four daughters in Burma. Her family practices swidden agriculture—a rotational farming method in which different plots of land are cleared for cultivation each year—to grow rice, green beans, and cucumbers to feed themselves. Taw spent several months away from her husband and children while receiving treatment for choriocarcinoma, a cancer of the uterus that occurs during pregnancy. The fast-growing cancer cells develop within the tissue that becomes the placenta. Costs associated with Taw’s previous medical care have left the family with a large amount of debt. With no income from the farm and no external sources of financial support, they have no means of paying for additional treatment for Taw or even education fees or clothes for the children. In addition, the shifting of roles within the family has decreased productivity on the farm and puts them at risk of not producing enough food to feed themselves. “Taw’s current symptoms include gripping abdominal pain and tight muscle spasms in her lower back that force her to lie down,” our medical partner, Burma Border Projects (BBP), tells us. “She experiences ongoing bleeding, has spells of dizziness and headaches, and is easily fatigued.” “Taw has been unable to work, and her husband has taken time off to care for her and their sick daughter,” BBP continues. “This has forced their 14-year-old daughter to drop out of school and to take up considerable responsibility to support the family.” For $1500, Taw will undergo a hysterectomy to remove her uterus. Funding also covers the costs of pre- and post-surgical consultations, seven days of hospital care, and transportation to and from the hospital. “It is hoped that surgery will improve the health condition and comfort of Taw so that she can return to her family,” says BBP. “When I recover, I will work hard to provide for my children," Taw shares.
“Ran began having ear discharge from her left ear when she was 10 years old,” says our medical partner, Children’s Surgical Center (CSC). Ran is now an 18-year-old woman living in Cambodia, and her condition has led to further complications. CSC continues, “The recurrent discharge caused hearing loss and an infected perforation of the tympanic membrane (eardrum). Her left ear experiences pain and tinnitus as well.” After learning about CSC from another individual in her village, Ran traveled three hours with her mother to reach our partner. She is married without children, and she spends her days cleaning her home and helping her parents on their farm. Ran tells CSC, “It is difficult to communicate with other people and this makes me unhappy that I can’t hear clearly.” In order to combat her infection and improve her hearing, Ran will need a mastoidectomy, a surgery that will remove cells in the hollow, air-filled spaces in the skull behind the ear. This procedure is used to treat infection and eliminate discharge and pain. For $809, Ran can receive the surgery she requires. Her mother shares: “I hope after the operation is done my daughter’s ear discharge stops, and she can have better hearing.”
Mercy is a six-month-old girl from Kenya. She was brought to our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation (AMHF), by her parents and her uncle. Mercy lives in a two room house with six other siblings where her mother watches over the family at home and nearby, her father works in a tea factory. When Mercy was born, she developed a sac-like protrusion on the lower backbone. This open defect on her spine, a condition called spina bifida, has already been hindering her normal development for the last few months. The congenital deformity is often a consequence of fetal hydrocephalus where cerebrospinal fluid adds pressure to the spinal cord. “Mercy came to the hospital with a leaking mass, so surgery must be done [promptly] to avoid severe infection and other complications,” explains AMHF. If her condition goes untreated, tethered cord syndrome is likely to develop, resulting in a permanently hunched back or a spine bent sideways. Mercy requires $805 for a spina bifida closure surgery, in which a surgeon will correct, reconstruct, and close the deformity. Long term monitoring and braces are part of the treatment process to observe her walking ability and gauge surgery success. AMHF believes the surgery will eliminate infections, prevent more nerve damage in the future, and decrease her chances of developing tethered cord syndrome. Mercy's father says, "I hope Mercy will get treatment and this condition will be past us. Please help us make her treatment possible."
“48-year-old Than Nwet has lived in Burma for the last three years and works with her family as fishermen,” our medical partner, Burma Border Projects (BBP) tells us. She has five daughters and two sons. “After Than Nwet’s third pregnancy, her uterus began to protrude from her vagina, but she did not seek medical help at that time,” BBP tells us. “After working very hard doing some heavy lifting, her uterus came completely out." Than Nwet's village clinic wasn't able to provide proper gynecological care for her. Her condition causes her to have constant pain, bleeding, and discomfort. "She is only able to perform household chores and cannot contribute to the household income." She finally decided to seek proper care once her condition began impeding on her ability to walk. Surgery and treatment for Than Nwet costs $1,500. “After surgery, Than Nwet should not have any more discomfort,” says BBP. “She should be able to go back and work and generate income for her family.” “I am desperately hoping for a successful surgery so that I can return to work and experience relief,” shares Than Nwet.
“Otni is a playful little boy who lives with his parents in a small adobe mud house in rural Guatemala,” shares our medical partner, Wuqu’ Kawoq (WK). Otni is 18 months old and due to malnutrition, has experienced difficulties with his health since birth. The effects of malnutrition affect Otni’s overall development and immune system. WK informs us his height and weight measure at far below the average of a healthy boy his age. In addition, he is prone to illness. Without intervention, his health will continue to decline, compromising his mental and physical development. To support their family, Otni’s father works in the fields near their home while his mother takes care of housework and weaves textiles to sell. However, their combined income is not enough to afford the costs of Otni’s treatment. With $535, Otni will receive nutritional therapy. “This treatment will supply Otni with the growth monitoring, micronutrient and food supplementation, and de-worming medication needed for him to increase his overall caloric intake, overcome his cough, and recoup some of the weight and height he has lost,” explains WK. Otni’s mother will also receive intensive nutrition education, providing her with the skills and confidence to care for Otni throughout his childhood. “I want to make the difference in his life that he needs to grow better and become healthier,” she shares.