Thomas joined Watsi on September 25th, 2013. Seven years ago, Thomas joined our Universal Fund, supporting life-changing treatments for a new Watsi patient every month. Thomas' most recent donation traveled 8,800 miles to support Vireak, an 18-year-old student from Cambodia, to fund a spinal surgery to alleviate scoliosis.
Thomas has funded healthcare for 112 patients in 13 countries.
Vireak is an 18-year-old student. He is the elder brother to two younger sisters. Both of Vireak's parents work in construction. In his free time, Vireak enjoys reading books, exercising, listening to music, and helping his family with cooking and taking care of his younger sisters. Vireak has been diagnosed with lumbar scoliosis. He has a curved spine causing back pain and has difficulty walking and sitting. On November 12th, surgeons at the Children's Surgical Centre (CSC) will perform an orthopedic repair surgery on Vireak to alleviate his scoliosis pain. Our medical partner is requesting $1,500 to fund his spinal surgery. Once recovered, his quality of life will significantly improve and he will be able to return to life as normal. Vireak shared, "I hope after my surgery my back gets better and I can have a straight spine and be free of discomfort."
Mo is 22-year-old student from Thailand. Mo lives with his father in a refugee camp on the Thai-Burma border. In the camp, Mo finished high school and is now completing his post-high school education. Their household receives 480 baht (approx. $16 USD) each month as part of their food support from an organization called The Border Consortium. However, this amount is not enough to cover their daily needs. Mo's father also works as a seasonal agricultural day laborer in a nearby village to earn an extra 350 baht (approx. $12 USD) each month. However this amount is still not enough and they struggle to make ends meet despite having free basic health care and education in their camp. Mo was recently diagnosed with a mass in his brain and hydrocephalus, which has caused fluid to build up in his brain. Watsi supporters are helping to fund his brain mass removal surgery, but without immediate surgery to treat his hydrocephalus and alleviate the intracranial pressure that the excess fluid is causing, he is at risk of developing severe, potentially fatal medical complications. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is requesting $1,500 to fund the insertion of a ventriculoperitoneal shunt for Mo, which will drain the fluid that has accumulated in his brain. The procedure is scheduled to take place on October 9th, and, once completed, will greatly improve Mo's quality of life. "I dream of becoming a great medic after I finish my post-high school education, but for now I am in the care of the [hospital’s] medical team," said Mo.
In 2018, Dickens’ mother gave birth to him on her way to the hospital. Upon arrival at the hospital, they were reviewed then discharged home on the same day. But, the next day Dickens’ mother noticed that his stomach had started to swell. She rushed him to the nearby facility and Dickens was diagnosed with anorectal malformation. They were then referred to another facility in Kisumu where a colostomy was put. When it was time for Dickens' second surgery, his mother took him to the same facility where the first surgery was done, but nothing was done. Dickens’ mother kept on visiting the facility to seek treatment for her son, and still nothing was done. She shared that a few months down the line, a friend learnt about Dickens' condition and he advised them to come to Watsi's Medical Partner Care Center Bethany Kids Hospital. Upon arrival, Dickens was examined and emergency surgery was scheduled for the next day. Just before Dickens was born, his father passed away. Both of his parents were casual laborers and would do any work that they came across to provide for their family of five. After his birth, his mother has not been able to look for work and relies on her parents-in-law. She now has to stay at home and take care of Dickens because of his medical condition. Dickens’ grandfather is a farmer and mostly sells his produce to earn a living. With Dickens surgery planned, the family is not able to raise any money to cater for the cost and his mother is appealing for financial help. Dickens’ mother shared, “It really hurts whenever I see my son crying out because of the pain he experiences.”
Ye lives with his wife and daughter on the Thai-Burma border. He used to work as a carpenter but had to stop working two years ago when his health deteriorated. His wife is a homemaker and his daughter works as a vendor selling mobile phones. Her monthly income of 10,000 baht (approx. 335 USD) is just enough to cover their family's daily needs. In the beginning of 2018, Ye started to experience swelling in his hands and feet, pain in his lower back, and difficulty passing urine. At first he thought that it was caused by overworking and would disappear over time. Six months later, when he still felt unwell, Ye finally decided to go see a doctor. He went to Mae Sot Hospital (MSH) where the doctor conducted tests and concluded that he had high blood pressure. The doctor also sent him to another hospital for an ultrasound because at that time the ultrasound machine was broken at MSH. When Ye returned to MSH with his ultrasound results, the doctor diagnosed him with stones in both of his kidneys. He was told to drink lots of water and was provided with oral medication. When Ye returned for his follow-up appointment, he received another ultrasound and more oral medication. As his condition went on, he received a catheter in both of his kidneys while admitted at the hospital. Ye kept returning regularly for his follow-up appointments. Up until 2020, he had the catheter replaced a number of times and also asked the doctor twice if he could receive surgery. However, both times the doctor told him that he would have to wait because there were too many patients on the waiting list. Eventually in the beginning of 2020, Ye was scheduled to receive surgery. When he was admitted in the middle of March 2020, he first received treatment for a urinary tract infection before he received surgery to remove the stone from his right kidney. After surgery, Ye had difficulty breathing and was placed in the intensive care unit for four days. By the time he was discharged, he was left with a 127,000 baht (approx. 4,233 USD) hospital bill. Ye paid what he could by selling all their jewelry and using up their saving. However, most of his bill was paid by borrowing money from his relatives in Burma. Before he was discharged, the doctor told him that he will need to receive laser treatment to breakup the stone in his left kidney. However, if the procedure was not successful he would need surgery to remove the stone. His daughter was no longer able to pay for his laser treatment so a nurse at MSH told him to ask for help at Mae Tao Clinic (MTC). When Ye went to the clinic and told the medic that they cannot afford to pay for his laser treatment, the medic referred him to Watsi's Medical Partner Burma Children Medical Fund for assistance accessing further treatment and we now are raising $1500 to support his care. “I am very depressed, and I feel stressed about my health condition. I have used up all my savings for my treatment. Now I have to rely on my daughter’s income and I feel really feel bad as she works hard," said Ye.
Ohmar is a 36-year-old woman from Thailand. She lives with her husband and two children in a town along the Thai-Burma border. On July 4th, Ohmar was trying to cross the highway to go to a grocery store. She was on her bike on the side of the road when a car sped past, causing her to fall off her bike and land on top of her right arm. A man who saw her fall put turmeric powder on her injured arm and wrapped it in a cloth. But Ohmar did not go to Mae Tao Clinic right away because she did not have enough money. She was only able to seek treatment two days after the accident. Now, Ohnmar's she is in pain, her right arm cannot be extended and her fingers are also swollen. With the help of our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, Ohmar will undergo surgery to reset her fractured bones and ensure proper healing. The procedure is scheduled for July 16th and will cost $1,500. This procedure will help make Ohnmar's right arm become functional again and she will no longer be in pain. "I am happy that I can have surgery with the support of the Burma Children Medical Fund and Watsi donors. I have to look after my two children so I need to be strong for them," shared Ohmar.
Esther is a small-scale farmer from Kenya. She used to work in her small village farm for subsistence and her husband worked as a chef in a city restaurant. However, with the closure of businesses currently due to COVID, they have limited finances. Two years ago, Esther has been experiencing lower abdominal pain, back pain and fatigue. She has been diagnosed with a swollen abdominopelvic mass. She needs to undergo a hysterectomy, a procedure in which surgeons will remove her uterus. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $832 to fund Esther's surgery. On June 12th, she will undergo gynecological surgery at our medical partner's care center. Once recovered, Esther will be able to resume her daily activities free of pain. Esther shared hopefully, “My desire is to be treated and regain back my strength.”
Florence is a Form Three student from Kenya. Florence is the oldest child in a family of five girls. She lives with her mother and siblings in a two-roomed house, relying only on their mother for daily upkeep after her father neglected them. Three years ago, Florence was involved in a road accident. While going to school, she was hit from behind by a passenger van, fracturing her right femur. Since then, she has had multiple surgeries to correct the fractures. She suffers severe pain and persistent infection. Fortunately, our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is helping Florence receive treatment. On May 15th, surgeons will perform a debridement and skin graft procedure so she will no longer be in pain and her risk of infection will be reduced. Now, Florence needs help to fund this $1,242 procedure. Florence says, “My greatest wish is to go back to finish school and at least help my mother.”
Win is a 49-year-old woman from Burma. She lives with her husband and four sons. Two of her sons are distant learners at university while her husband and two other sons work as masons. However, her husband had to stop working to look after the housework when she was no longer able to do so. Win was diagnosed with a heart condition that involves a malformation of her 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, Win feels tired, has no appetite, cannot sleep well nor walk longer distances. She also has a headache, chest pains, and tingling and numbness in her extremities. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is requesting $1,500 to fund a mitral valve replacement for Win. The treatment is scheduled to take place on March 11th and, once completed, will hopefully allow her to live more comfortably. Win said, “When I recover from my illness, I will go back to doing the housework so that my husband can also go back to work.’’
Lewis is a playful and social student from Kenya. Lewis is the brother to Jonah, who also needs clubfoot repair, and is the 6th born in a family of 8 children. He aspires to be in the Special Forces as a Military Officer in future. The family hails from Iteria village in Meru County. His single mother used to be farmer but she currently stays at home. She recently underwent an amputation on her leg after suffering from diabetes. Lewis has clubfoot of both of his feet. Clubfoot is a condition in which the foot is twisted out of shape. This causes difficulty walking and even wearing shoes. Fortunately, Lewis traveled to visit our medical partner's care center, AIC Cure International Hospital. There, surgeons will perform clubfoot repair surgery on March 16th. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $1,224 to fund Lewis's clubfoot repair. After treatment, he will be able to walk well and no longer be in pain. “We request your support. I cannot be able to raise the estimated bill. Please help,” Lewis’s mother pleaded with us.
Princess is a child from Tanzania. She is is a beautiful girl and an only child. Princess’s mother is a housewife while her father works as a casual laborer in a factory. In 2018, Princess had gone out to play while her mother was inside doing house chores and she had left drinking water to boil on their stove. As Princess was coming back into the house she fell over the stove and the hot water poured all over her chest burning her badly. Contractures from the burn scar have made it difficult for her to move freely. Fortunately, our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is helping Princess receive treatment. On November 15th, surgeons at their care center will perform a burn contracture release surgery to help her move her head again. Now, she needs help to fund this $608 procedure. Princess’s mother says, “Now my daughter can move her neck compared to before, if she is able to get this next surgery she will be able to fully move her neck, please help.”
Naw Lel is a one and a half year old girl from Burma. She is from a population that is ethnically Karen. She lives with her parents and her grandmother, who are subsistence farmers.The family does not have a regular income, but Naw Lel’s father and grandmother sometimes make homemade noodles and traditional beverages and sell them to bring in an income for the family. When Naw Lel was five months old, her mother noticed that a small lump appeared in the upper left side of her daughter’s groin. Naw Lel had femoral hernia. Naw Lel can neither play actively nor run, because if she does so, the lump in her groin will appear, causing her pain. She also cannot eat and sleep well. Sometimes, she vomits and catches a fever at night. Whenever she cries, she would touch her groin. Her parents are very sad to see her in pain, but they could not do anything for her. Fortunately, on January 16th, she 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 Naw Lel's hernia repair surgery. The procedure is scheduled to take place on January 16th and, once completed, will hopefully allow her to live more comfortably. Naw Lel’s mother said, “I want her to grow up healthy and I want her to become a teacher.”
Ma Ni is a 30-year-old woman from Burma. In her free time, she likes to pray to Buddha. She and her husband work as government officers. Together they earn 414,000 kyat (approx. $414 USD) per month, which is not enough for any safety net after they pay their bills for utilities and other household expenses. One day in July 2019, Ma Ni stood up from her desk at work and had pain in her hip joints. She had to push her hand against her hips to help her walk. She did not think there was anything seriously wrong so she did not seek medical attention. However, two weeks after this incident, when she was going to work, she slipped and fell in front of her house. Right away her hips started to hurt and two weeks later, the pain gradually became severe. Her condition worsened day by day, although she visited several hospitals and had taken medications. Currently, Ma Ni has a lot of pain in her hips. She cannot walk for more than two minutes or the pain becomes unbearable. She does not feel comfortable when she lays down and has problems sleeping from the pain. She also needs help going to the bathroom and taking a shower. Fortunately, Ma Ni learned about Watsi's medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF). At BCMF's care center, surgeons can perform a total hip replacement to relieve Ma Ni of her pain and allow her to walk easily. Treatment is scheduled for December 17th, and Ma Ni needs help raising $1,500 to pay for this procedure. Ma Ni said, "I had to send my son to my mother’s place in Mawlamyine and my husband also had to ask for leave. [When fully recovered] I want to take back my son from my mother and send him to school. I will support him in whatever he wants to become when he grows up.”