Karen SternMONTHLY DONOR
Karen's Story

Karen joined Watsi on September 25th, 2016. Five years ago, Karen joined our Universal Fund, supporting life-changing treatments for a new Watsi patient every month. Karen's most recent donation supported Yoon, a beautiful 12-year-old girl from Burma, to fund an Achilles tendon lengthening procedure so that she can walk again.

Impact

Karen has funded healthcare for 70 patients in 11 countries.

All patients funded by Karen

Yoon is a bright and loving 12-year-old girl. She lives with her mother and uncle in Karen State of Burma near the border with Thailand. She was a student in grade three but stopped studying in August 2020 when she was no longer able to walk. Yoon enjoys painting pictures and reading books. In the future, she wants to go back to school and continue her studies. She helps out her mother with household chores. Her uncle is unemployed whereas her mother is an agricultural day labourer. One day at home, Yoon fell down when she tried to stand up to go to the bathroom. Her feet felt painful and were pointing downwards. After that, she did not try to stand up again and would move around her house on her knees. Her mother would have to carry her to the bathroom. Due to their financial situation, her mother was not able to seek treatment despite being very worried for her daughter. Over time, Yoon noticed that her feet were increasingly pointing downwards and were stiff. Her legs would feel painful and were also stiff. Sometimes, she could not stretch out her legs due to feelings of tightness and pain. Her mom shared that she would cry whenever her legs pained, and she would have to wait until the pain lessened by itself. Additionally, her hands began to weaken until she could not hold food with her hands. At the same time, her speech became slurred and her voice became hoarse. On June 17, Yoon arrived at our medical partner's care center, Mawlamyine Christian Leprosy Hospital (MCLH), and was admitted that same day. She received a physical examination and was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and tightness of Achilles tendon in both of her legs. The doctor recommended she receive surgery on both of her feet, which would help her walk again, and scheduled the procedure for June 21st. When Yoon’s mother told the doctor that they cannot afford to pay for surgery, the doctor referred Yoon to Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF) for assistance accessing further treatment. Our medical partner, BCMF, is requesting $1,500 to cover the cost of an Achilles tendon lengthening procedure for Yoon. This procedure will elongate her Achilles tendon, allowing increased motion at the ankle joint. Without treatment, Yoon's condition will continue to cause her discomfort and will further limit her movement. Her mother said, “I cried almost every night when I saw my daughter in this condition. She always cried and complained about her feet. She always asked me to bring her to the hospital to get treatment. Whenever she asked me, I felt very sad and I would cry in secret. I want her to get treatment, but I cannot afford to pay for it. Due to COVID-19 and the current fighting in Burma, I cannot make enough money or save it. Often, I would only eat fishpaste and rice, but give her meat so that she can have something nutritious. When I heard that she has donors who will help her receive treatment, I felt very happy and thankful to BCMF for this kindness. I never thought she would receive such an opportunity. It makes me so happy that I do not know how to express it in words.”

41%funded
$616raised
$884to go

Saroh is a 17-year-old girl who lives with her parents, two younger brothers and a younger sister in a village in Burma. Her sister and brothers attend school while Saroh has never gone to school due to her health. Saroh’s parents are farmers and they grow rice. Saroh was around five or six months old, when her mother noticed that when Saroh tried to roll over, her lips, toes and fingers would turn blue. Saroh's mother was unable to take Saroh to a clinic or hospital because they did not have enough money to do so. When Saroh was 5 years old she would often become tired when playing with her friends. Her lips, toes and fingers were also still blue. On a recommendation from a family friend, Saroh’s mother brought Saroh to a free clinic where she was referred to a hospital for further investigation. Following diagnostics exams, Saroh’s mother was told that Saroh was born with a heart condition. In order to get treatment Saroh would have to be transferred to a hospital that was very far. Without enough information or money to travel and pay for treatments, Saroh and her mother traveled back to their village. Saroh was then treated with traditional medicine which according to Saroh’s mother seemed to stabilize her condition. In the middle of 2019, Saroh started to experience back pain. She also felt more tired and had difficulty breathing. Her mother did not know what to do as they had no money to bring her to a hospital or a clinic. Saroh’s mother asked their friends if they knew of a way that Saroh could receive treatment. In May 2020, Saroh’s uncle told his friend about Saroh’s condition. That friend happened to be a former staff member of our medical partner Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF) and told Saroh’s uncle about how BCMF could help. BCMF agreed to help Saroh access the treatment she needs, and is requesting $1500 to fund her cardiac surgery. Now staying at the patient house in Chiang Mai, Saroh is learning how to read and write with the help of BCMF staff who teaches here during her free time while waiting for her treatment. Saroh said, “If I feel better, I want to help my mother with household chores. In the future, I think I want to go to Bible school and become a missionary. I am very thankful to all the donors who are willing to help pay for the cost of my treatment.”

$1,500raised
Fully funded