Ben joined Watsi on June 18th, 2014. Seven years ago, Ben joined our Universal Fund, supporting life-changing treatments for a new Watsi patient every month. Ben's most recent donation traveled 8,300 miles to support Myo, a 40-year-old fisherman from Burma, to fund surgery for an infection on his left foot.
Ben has funded healthcare for 96 patients in 12 countries.
Ben has funded healthcare for 96 patients in 12 countries.
Myo is 40-years-old and lives with his two sisters, two nephews, and two nieces in a village in Burma. He was a fisherman but stopped working when he started to experience problems on his left foot. As a result, his sisters support their household. One year ago, Myo noticed that his left big toe was itchy and swollen after he came home from fishing. Soon enough, it developed into an ulcer. Without enough money to go to a clinic or a hospital, he used traditional medicine and bought pain medicine to clean the infection. However, each time Myo would clean the ulcer, it would heal but returning a month later. Four months after he first developed the ulcer, the recurrent ulcer worsened until he could no longer walk without support from his sister. Eventually, he saved enough funds to visit a health clinic. When the ulcer still did not heal, he went to a second clinic and was referred to our medical partner's care center, Mawlamyine Christian Leprosy Hospital (MCLH). At MCLH, the doctor tried to first clean and treat the infection. When that did not work, the doctor told him that they would have to amputate his left big toe and referred Myo to our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF) for assistance accessing treatment. On January 13th, Myo will undergo treatment to amputate his left big toe so that his infection can finally be treated and not spread to other parts of his body. For the treatment, BCMF is requesting $1,500 to help cover the costs. Hopefully, he will be able to return to fishing and other activities he previously enjoyed soon. Myo is hopeful that things will be better after surgery and shared, "When I recover, I will find work and support my sisters’ families.”
Mu is a 17-year-old boy who lives with his sister in Mae Sot, Thailand. Before that, he lived with his parents, one older sister, two younger brothers and one younger sister in a refugee camp. His sister works at a non-governmental organisation helping others in need. Around mid-August, Mu woke up one morning with pain in his left knee. At first he thought that the pain would go away on its own and that it was nothing serious. However, when the pain remained a few days later, he told his sister about it. His sister bought him a type of Burmese pain reliever balm to apply on his knee. He applied the balm for a week, but he did not feel any better. When he and his sister noticed that his left knee had become slightly swollen his sister called their father. Mu’s father told them that it could be an ulcer and suggested that they go to a hospital or buy him pain medication to reduce swelling. His sister bought the medication their father had suggested at a pharmacy, and Mu took it for a week. However, he did not feel better, and the swelling did not decrease. Mu was able to have an MRI at Chiang Mai Hospital and now the doctor recommends he undergo surgery to remove a tumor on his left knee. Mu sought treatment through our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund and is now scheduled to undergo mass removal surgery on December 17th. He is requesting $1,500 to cover the total cost of his procedure and care which will enable him to get off of using crutches and back to feeling well again. Mu said, "After I heard from the doctor that my leg does not need to be amputated, I feel so happy."
Taw is a 30-year-old woman who lives with her family in a refugee camp in Thailand. Originally from Burma, Taw fled to the refugee camp with her father in 2008 due to a civil war in her village. She used to work as a midwife in the hospital in the refugee camp but became a homemaker after getting married in 2017. Her father is unemployed, while her niece, nephew, and son go to school. Her husband worked as a day laborer outside the refugee camp. However, since COVID-19 cases were detected in the camp and there was an increase in cases in Thailand, schools were closed, and her husband can no longer leave the camp for work. The family shared that they rely on support from a local organization called the Border Consortium, which is not enough for their daily needs, so they must stretch the income until the end of each month. In her free time, Taw loves to play with her son and cook her favorite foods. Taw is expecting her second child soon. Due to her first delivery via Cesarean section and complications during birth, Taw’s doctors recommended that she deliver by a Cesarean section to ensure her and the baby’s safety. On November 15th, Taw will undergo a Cesarean section at our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF). BMCF is requesting $1500 to fund this procedure. Taw shared, “I have one son now, so I would like to have a girl this time. After I have weaned my baby, I want to work as a midwife again at the hospital.”
U Ghwe is a 70-year-old man who lives with his wife and granddaughter in Burma. His wife is ill and not able to look after household chores most of the time. His granddaughter is a student in grade 12, but since her school is closed right now, she looks after the household chores. U Ghwe is a weaver and primarily makes bamboo baskets used to carry materials for construction. The family also fishes and raises chickens. Four years ago, U Ghwe had a stroke which left the muscles in his right foot very stiff. Although he can walk, he cannot wear sandals comfortably and instead goes barefoot. About a month ago, while cutting bamboo for weaving, he felt something bite the sole of his right foot. When he got home that evening, his foot was painful, itchy, red and swollen. Unfortunately, he did not have money to seek treatment at a clinic and eventually, the wound developed into an abscess filled with pus. A family member finally recommended that he visit our medical partner's care center for further examination and treatment. After examination, a doctor diagnosed him with an ulcer and told him that he has diabetes. The doctor shared with him that any injury U Ghwe sustains will not heal easily. His doctor has recommended surgery to clean the ulcer and help it to heal. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF), is helping U Ghwe receive the recommended treatment. On October 7th, he will undergo a wound debridement procedure at BCMF's care center to help his wound heal. Now, he needs help raising $694 to fund his procedure and care. U Ghwe shared, "I do not know how long my daughter will not be able to [give] me money. Today, my daughter called me and said that my son-in-law will need to have surgery so she cannot send me money. I am the only one who can earn an income, so if I do not feel better, I will not be able to work. I am interested in working with wood. If was younger, I would learn and become a carpenter but now I feel I am too old."
Ar is a 28-year-old man who lives with his wife, three sons, and two daughters in a refugee camp. Originally from Burma, his family fled to Thailand 20 years ago due to civil war. His children attend school, except for his youngest daughter, who is not yet old enough. His wife is a homemaker and Ar works as a day laborer when work is available. Ar's family shared that, in addition to his day laborer pay, they receive a monthly cash card from The Border Consortium to purchase food in the refugee camp. Overall, the family's total monthly income is just enough to cover their basic needs. On September 2nd, Ar climbed a tamarind tree to pick tamarinds fruit. When the branch he was standing on suddenly broke, he fell and landed on his right arm and experienced pain in his back. He visited the camp hospital that day, and the medic initially determined that his arm was not broken. Due to recent positive COVID-19 cases in the refugee camp, Ar could not be immediately referred to the local hospital for further testing and was kept for observation at the camp hospital. When the pain in Ar's back and arm did not subside the next day, the medic referred Ar to the local hospital. After receiving a negative COVID-19 test, Ar was finally able to visit the hospital on September 6th, where he received an X-ray for his arm and a blood test for a second COVID-19 test. The X-ray revealed that his upper right arm is broken. With the help of our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF), Ar will undergo surgery on September 8th to reset his fractured bones and ensure proper healing. The procedure will enable Ar to continue working in the future. BCMF is requesting $1,500 to fund this procedure. Ar shared, "I am scared to receive surgery. But I was told that I will not be able to work using my right arm if I do not receive surgery, so I gave my consent to the doctor. I hope that I will be able to work again after I receive treatment."
Elsa is a 9-year-old boy from Ethiopia. He loves to play football with his dad and other kids. He is the first born in a family of three. His father is a daily laborer and his mother takes care of their house and family. Elsa and his family live in a rented house. Their family shared with us that Elsa does not go to school because his father hides him from the community for fear of gossip and stigma due to his birth condition. His parents are highly affected psychologically as a result of his affliction. His father is planning to send him to school in September after his surgery and recovery. Elsa was born with hypospadias, a congenital abnormality. Without treatment, he will continue to experience uncomfortable symptoms and will be at risk of infertility. Elsa had his first stage of hypospadias repair surgery in January and is now planned for a second stage surgery. He will be healthy and active after this treatment. Elsa is scheduled to undergo corrective surgery on August 31st. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $1,293 to cover the total cost of his procedure and care. His father said, “I hope my child goes to school after the treatment. I hope he will mingle and play with other children and that will make him happy, break his isolation, and resolve the tension in his mind. If God wills he will be a doctor.”
Meet Jecinta, a 12-year-old friendly, talkative, and funny girl. She is the youngest in her family of three children. Currently, Jecinta is a student in grade 5, and in school, she likes reading and playing with her friends even though her legs limits her ability to play as well as her peers. Jecinta's mother is a single mother who works temporary jobs on neighbor’s farms, clothes washing, and other available jobs. Jecinta was born healthy, but her mother noticed a sudden bowing of her legs when she was one. Jecinta's mother took her toddler to a nearby hospital where plaster was applied to her legs to prevent spreading of her condition. However, since then, it has continued to worsen and has been affecting Jecinta's mobility. At this point, she cannot stand upright and play with friends as she would like to. Fortunately, Jecinta is scheduled to undergo surgery on July 19th to correct her legs. This treatment will allow her to walk like other friends, play with them, and continue with her studies, all of which can improve her self-esteem. “I would wish for support for my child because I cannot be able to afford the hospital bills,”Jecinta’s mother asks.
Vivian is a fifth-grade student and the eldest of two children in her family. Vivian is a friendly and a hard working girl both at school and at home. She loves to help her mother with house chores and enjoys learning new things. In 2019, Vivian was involved in a fire accident which has left her with burns and contracture on her right side. As a result, her range of movement is limited and it is difficult for her to use her right side of her body freely. Fortunately, our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare, is helping Vivian receive treatment. On May 11th, surgeons will perform a skin graft procedure to repair her injury and increase mobility on that side of her body. Now, Vivian's family needs help to fund this $747 procedure. Vivian’s mother shared, "After her first surgery, she could use her arm well but over the year it has started contracting again. She has been scheduled for another surgery which we cannot afford. Please help."
Simon is a ten-year-old boy and is the fifth of seven children. Simon and his siblings are being raised by their widowed mother. Though they do not have a farm, Simon's mother has received some support from their village church and has been able to start a small business of selling sugar, tea leaves, salt, and little snacks like doughnuts to be able to support and provide for her children. Recently, Simon was diagnosed with a bone condition called right valgus. During year seven at school, he fell ill from a bacterial infection and was bedridden for a long time. His mother tried to use traditional herbal medication which didn't help with the condition. Simon's infection continued to get worse, and as his mother began to worry he might die, the church helped to pay for medical treatment so he could recover fully. When he was strong enough to get out of bed and walk, his mother noticed his leg was not straight, but she thought it was because of the long period he had been in bed not walking. Over time, his leg has worsened, making walking difficult for him. As a result, Simon is unable to get around or attend to his normal daily activities with ease. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare, is requesting $880 to fund corrective surgery for Simon. The procedure is scheduled to take place on April 20th. Treatment will hopefully restore Simon's mobility, allow him to participate in a variety of activities, and greatly decrease his risk of future complications. Simon’s mother asks, "Please help my son."
Josephine is a widow and mother who has three children, now grown up themselves and who work as casual laborers. Recently, Josephine's daughter brought her to our medical partner and explained that her mother has difficulties in communicating and hearing. She could not explain how she slipped or fell, but has severe leg pain, including feeling like it has detached, and she had not been able to walk for over a week. An X-ray showed she has a closed fracture of the left femur. Additionally, on checking her blood level, she had hemoglobin (Hb) of 7mg/dl, which is a sign of anemia. Fortunately, surgeons at our medical partner can help. The surgeon first advised admission for treatment to correct the anemia. Next, on April 15th, an open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF) procedure has been scheduled to repair her fracture. This procedure will help Josephine be able to walk again and resume her normal activities. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare, is requesting $1,049 to fund this procedure. If not treated, Josephine will not be able to use her left leg and the fracture may have malunion or heal with permanent deformity. Josephine was mostly quiet as her daughter shared her story, but she added, “Please help me and God will bless you.”
Lemayan is a seven-year-old boy from Tanzania and the youngest child in a family of two children. He is a hardworking boy who helps look after his parents' goats. Lemayan walks a long distance every day in search of green pasture and water for his father’s goats. His family comes from a region where the economic activity is livestock keeping; the region is not favorable for farming since it sees very little rainfall. Given the remoteness of the area and their lifestyle as nomadic livestock farmers, most of the children in the area are not able to go school and Lemayan has not had the chance to attend school. One year ago, Lemayan developed a mass on his shoulder. From there, masses developed in different areas of his body. Of greatest concern at the moment, however, is a submandibular mass that is growing quickly. Lemayan experiences pain and discomfort. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare, is helping Lemayan receive treatment. Lemayan traveled to our medical partner's care center and on March 12th, surgeons will remove the mass. Now, Lemayan needs help to raise $724 to fund the procedure. Lemayan’s mother shared, “finding money to take our son the hospital was a big challenge and that’s why we have not been able to take him. Kindly help my son."
Htoo is a five-year-old boy from who lives with his parents and four siblings in a refugee camp in Thailand. His mother is a homemaker and his father used to work as a day laborer in a nearby Thai village, but has been unable to leave the camp for work since COVID-19 broke out in Thailand. Htoo will start Kindergarten this year. Their family's monthly stipend is not enough to cover their daily needs. Recently, Htoo climbed a guava tree to pick some fruit. He slipped, fell, and landed on his left arm. Htoo injured his elbow in the fall and his father immediately rushed him to the camp hospital run by Malteser International (MI). After receiving first aid, the medic referred him to another hospital, where he was diagnosed with a broken elbow and referred for treatment. Knowing that Htoo needed surgery, MI staff referred him to our Medical Partner Burma Children Medical Fund for financial assistance to access surgery. Currently, Htoo is in pain and cannot bend his left arm. With the help of our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, Htoo will undergo surgery to reset his fractured bones and ensure proper healing. The procedure is scheduled for March 12th and will cost $1,500. This procedure will help Htoo regain use of his left arm so that he can complete daily tasks. Htoo's father is hopeful he'll be feeling well soon. He shared that right now, "Htoo does not want to go to school or study. He loves to play football."