Michael SchonfeldUNIVERSAL FUND MEMBER
Michael's Story

Michael joined Watsi on December 24th, 2015. Eight years ago, Michael joined our Universal Fund, supporting life-changing treatments for a new Watsi patient every month. Michael's most recent donation traveled 8,300 miles to support Kay Thaw, a 29-year-old man from Burma, to fund eye surgery.

Impact

Michael has funded healthcare for 110 patients in 15 countries.

Patients funded by Michael

Kay Thaw is a 29-year-old day laborer from Burma. He lives with his parents, five younger brothers, two younger sisters, a brother-in-law, and a nephew in the Internally Displaced People (IDP) Camp, in Karen State, Burma. Kay Thaw and his family fled to the IDP camp a year ago due to the conflict happening around their village at that time. The combined income of Kay Thaw's family is not enough to cover their daily needs. They borrow money from neighbors and also receive food donations in the IDP camp. During his free time, Kay Thaw likes to play football and cane ball. He also enjoys reading religious books. Currently, Kay Thaw has blurred vision in both of his eyes. Often, his eyes become red, inflamed, itchy, and watery. He cannot see other people’s faces and has difficulty seeing at night. Kay Thaw was diagnosed with juvenile cataract in both eyes. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is requesting $1,500 to fund lens replacement surgery for Kay Thaw. On May 17th, doctors will perform a lens replacement, during which they will remove Kay Thaw's natural lenses and replace them with an intraocular lens implant in each eye. After recovery, he will be able to see clearly. Now, he needs help to fund this $1,500 procedure. Kay Thaw said, “I hope my vision goes back to normal so that I can see and work well. I am totally blind at night. I cannot see other people's faces even when they are beside me. I cannot read the prayers when I go to church. I am worried about my eyes. I cannot afford to pay for my treatment. Without your help, I do not know what I can do."

$895raised
$605to go

Aung is a nine months old baby boy from Burma. He lives with his parents, grandparents, aunt, uncle, and two elder sisters. His father works as a day laborer, while his mother takes care of the household. They also run a small farm where they grow rice for both their family to eat and to earn an income. However, their monthly earning is insufficient to cover their basic living costs and Aung's medical expenses. As a result, they are indebted. Aung was born at home with the assistance of a midwife. Neither the midwife nor the mother noticed any abnormalities at that time. However, the day after his birth, Aung's grandmother observed swelling in his left foot and genitals, as well as a mass on his right flank. Last May, Aung and his mother sought treatment at the public hospital in Yangon, where he was admitted. There, he underwent tests, including hormone evaluations, along with multiple X-rays of his chest, abdomen, pelvis, and both legs. The doctor informed his mother that a rare congenital condition was suspected, and that amputation might be necessary if there were any changes in his leg color or when he reached six months of age to prevent complications. Oral medications and bi-weekly follow-up appointments were provided. Over time, Aung's leg and scrotum swelling worsened. However, due to ongoing conflict near their village and financial constraints, Aung's parents were unable to attend further follow-up appointments. Doctors now want Aung to undergo an MRI, an imaging procedure that uses magnetic fields and radio waves to produce images of bodily organs. This scan will hopefully help doctors diagnose his condition and formulate an appropriate treatment plan. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is requesting $968 to cover the cost of Aung's MRI and care, scheduled for January 26th. Aung's mother expressed, "I hope to witness my son's full recovery. His condition brings me immense sorrow, and I do not know why this has happened to him. I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to BCMF and the donors for helping my son. Once he receives complete treatment, my wish is for him to excel in his education and achieve success in life."

$968raised
Fully funded

Recheal is a 20-year-old from Kenya. She is studying in secondary school but has been unable to attend school for the last three months due to her condition. Recheal is the sixth born in a family of eleven children. Her parents are small-scale farmers, growing maize and beans for their family’s home use. Recheal does not have medical coverage, and her parents had to sell cattle and maize to raise Ksh 120,000.00 ($783) to cover her initial surgery costs. Recheal needs to undergo urgent surgery, and her family is requesting financial assistance. Recheal has been diagnosed with an abdominal bile leak that is causing her discomfort and pain. Her doctors have recommended surgery to ease the pain and enable her to resume her studies. She first experienced painful stomach swelling in August 2023. She visited a local health center and was treated for worms, which relieved her of pain for a while, but it recurred with time. She then visited our medical partner’s hospital for review. At the beginning of November, she received a CT scan that showed a liver cyst that required surgery. She underwent a laparotomy to remove the cyst on November 23rd. Four days later, the doctors identified a bile leakage that needed to be rectified. She is now scheduled for emergency surgery on November 28th to fix the fatal condition. African Mission Healthcare (AMH) is requesting $1,074 to fund this surgery. Recheal said, “I have missed school for three months now. This procedure will help ease stomach pain and enable me to return to school.”

$1,074raised
Fully funded

Benedict is a 57-year-old father from the Philippines. His wife, two daughters, and two stepchildren all reside with him and he works hard to support them. He keeps himself occupied by caring for doves, which is a love that become his hobby. He lost his job due to the COVID-19 pandemic and to provide for his family, he turned his hobby into a business. Benedict now sells doves which is the family's only source of income. He usually earns around Php 8,000 ($141 USD) a month doing this. One month ago, Benedict began experiencing troubling symptoms, including excruciating discomfort, which restricts his ability to perform his day to day tasks. He suffers greatly from even the smallest movement. He cannot sit, stand up, or walk without pain. Benedict was diagnosed with Mixed Hemorrhoids Grade IV, the most severe level of internal hemorrhoids. He needs surgery to prevent his symptoms from getting worse. Fortunately, our medical partner, World Surgical Foundation Philippines (WSFP), is helping Benedict receive treatment. He is scheduled to undergo a hemorrhoidectomy on September 30 at WSFP's care center. A portion of the cost of his treatment is being supported by the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, and WSFP is raising the remaining $1,285 to cover the cost of Benedict's procedure and care. Benedict said: "I hope to be a beneficiary of surgery as we cannot afford the expenses for the operation. Our family does not have a lot of income and I am hoping to remove the pain of my illness to return to work as the breadwinner for my family."

$1,285raised
Fully funded

Madelyn is a 38-year-old mother of two from the Philippines. She works as a quality specialist at a local company, while her husband is a stay-at-home father who is in charge of taking care of their children. In December 2022, Madelyn began to experience troubling symptoms, including frequent attacks of abdominal pain at night. Over time, the pain intensified, so she immediately sought medical advice. She was prescribed medication to alleviate the pain, but it persisted. She was then told to undergo an ultrasound test, which revealed the presence of a gallstone. Madelyn has been advised to undergo a cholecystectomy, the surgical removal of the gallbladder. If left untreated, her symptoms will continue to worsen and put her at risk for further health complications in the future. After seeking treatment through our medical partner World Surgical Foundation Philippines (WSFP), Madelyn is scheduled to undergo a cholecystectomy on July 19th. A portion of the cost of the procedure is being supported by the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, and WSFP is raising the remaining $1,128 to cover the cost of Madelyn's surgery and care. Madelyn shared, "This free surgery is a big help for us as we are currently struggling financially. My mother has just passed away on June 4th, which further exacerbated our financial and emotional turmoil. This operation will greatly help us, and I'm grateful that there's an organization like Watsi and World Surgical Foundation Philippines who are willing to help."

$1,128raised
Fully funded