JoAnn's Story

JoAnn joined Watsi on October 1st, 2015. Eight years ago, JoAnn joined our Universal Fund, supporting life-changing treatments for a new Watsi patient every month. JoAnn's most recent donation supported Elizabeth, a 7-month-old girl from Haiti, to fund heart surgery.


JoAnn has funded healthcare for 103 patients in 12 countries.

Patients funded by JoAnn

Elizabeth, who is seven months old, lives with her parents and two older brothers in a small house in Haiti, that they share with other relatives. Both of her parents are farmers. Elizabeth has a cardiac condition called atrioventricular septal defect. A large hole exists in the center of her heart, which affects all four of the heart's chambers. Blood leaks through this hole without passing through her lungs to obtain oxygen, leaving Elizabeth weak and unable to gain weight. Elizabeth will fly to the Dominican Republic to receive treatment. As she is too small and weak to undergo major surgery to completely correct her condition, on April 9th she will have a procedure, during which the doctors at Hospital CEDIMAT will implant a shunt, that will allow oxygenated blood to circulate through her body. This will stabilize Elizabeth's condition so that she can continue to grow and gain weight until she can more safely undergo a complete repair in several years. While another organization is contributing money to pay for Elizabeth's surgery, our medical partner, International Cardiac Alliance, is seeking your help to fund the $1,500 needed to cover the costs of Elizabeth's pre and post-operative care and for the documents and travel costs for Elizabeth, her family, and the social workers that will accompany the family. Elizabeth's mother said: "Our daughter's heart condition has been very stressful for our family, and we are very thankful to know that there may be a way to solve it!"

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Amare is a brave, social young boy who is smart and good at communicating. He hails from Ethiopia and loves to play with his friends. He shared that he loves innovating new things - like making a tuk tuk and a mobile toy with metal wire and wood. Amare loves to study and read books. He also loves to help his mom at home with cleaning and making stew and coffee. Amare is the third child of his parents. His mom lost ten children, both in her womb and after they were born. She was heartbroken when she conceived Amare as she thought that he wouldn’t grow up. When Amare's mother gave birth to him, she was traveling by foot to a marketplace and she gave birth on the road. She shared that she saw he had a wound and was scared that he would die. She took him to Sekota hospital. The doctor told her that the disease was curable by surgery and that he would live with care. He referred them to another hospital and she brought Amare there when he was a seven month-old baby. She was informed that he was too young for the complex procedure. She brought him again when he was two years-old. She got the same response, to come back when he is older. Then, Amare's mother lost hope in modern medicine. She told us that she started to go to church and apply holy water to her baby. But his condition stayed with him. She got sad and, in her words, "left it all to God". Both mom and dad are traditional farmers. They harvest once in a year because they get rain only in one season. They couldn’t use irrigation since there was no river near their field. They travel for thirty minutes to get underground spring water for drinking and cooking. They have one cow for their milk consumption. For these reasons, they can’t afford the medical bills for their son. Amare was born with a congenital anomaly called bladder exstrophy. That is an abnormally open bladder from the front. His bladder is open to the air, which results in leaking urine directly to his abdomen. He has suffered from pain from the irritation of the bladder, infection & smell from the continuous urinary leakage. Mom is very much worried and concerned because of his condition. His required treatment is called a mainz pouch procedure which is diverting his urination to another opening & making a pouch bladder from bowel. His surgery is scheduled for March 7th. His family needs help raising the $1,500 to fund the surgery. Amare said, “My friends from school and the neighborhood say I smell. I felt bad about it and tried to stay away from my friends. I like playing with my friends but nowadays what I prefer is to study at home alone. Or to be with my mother and help her with work.” Amare's mom said, “My neighbors talk, so when there is holiday party at home I let him stay at the outside kitchen. If there is clean cloth, he [can] change and mingle in the party but mostly he stays away. Amare said to me ‘If I couldn’t get treatment and heal while you are alive I will never heal and survive.' Because I don’t have any hope with my siblings and relatives. This hurt me a lot. I feel like I don’t have power to heal him or to provide him medical treatment."

Fully funded

Mourine is a 9-year-old bright, social and friendly girl from Kenya. She is the firstborn of a family of two and hails from Merigi village in Bomet county. Her mother told us that she is very active while at school and at home, helping do household chores, including tending to a kitchen garden as part of her work. Mourine is passionate about studying and she told us that she aspires to become a neurosurgeon in the future! Mourine was first seen in August 2023 at our medical partner's care center (AIC Cure International Hospital) mobile clinic and scheduled to undergo serial casting. She comes from a humble background where her mother is a homemaker while her father is a farmer. Mourine has clubfoot of both feet. Clubfoot is a condition in which the foot is twisted out of shape. This causes difficulty walking and even wearing shoes. This condition was not noticeable at a young age and her mother came to notice it when she was 4 years old. Mourine was taken to a hospital and the family were told that her foot needed to be corrected. They stayed home for quite sometime until they heard about AIC Cure mobile clinic and upon review, she was scheduled to undergo treatment. Currently Mourine walks with discomfort, is not flexible, and has pain when walking for a long distance. Fortunately, Mourine's family traveled to visit our medical partner's care center, AIC Cure International Hospital. There, surgeons will perform clubfoot repair surgery on January 30th. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $1,286 to fund Mourine's clubfoot repair. After treatment, she will be able to walk comfortably like other children, she will be able to play with her peers since there will be no pain and she will continue with her education without any challenge. She has a bright future ahead. Mourine said: "I'm looking forward to healing and walking comfortably to avoid people always asking me what is wrong with my foot."

Fully funded

Sarin is a 53-year-old single woman who lives in Phnom Penh province and is the primary caregiver for her elderly parents. She has five living siblings (sadly, two of her siblings died young) who help to support her and her parents. Most of her day is taken up with caring for her parents, cooking, and cleaning. In the evenings, Sarin likes to practice dhamma - a form of Buddhist meditation - as well as listen to the village monks pray on the local radio station. For many years, Sarin had an ear infection. This infection caused a cholesteatoma, or an abnormal skin growth, to develop in the middle ear behind the ear drum. If untreated, a cholesteatoma can cause erosion of the three small bones located in the middle ear, resulting in nerve deterioration, imbalance, vertigo, and deafness. It can also affect and erode, through the enzymes it produces, the thin bone structure that isolates the top of the ear from the brain, risking further infection with serious complications. Sarin's cholesteatoma has caused her many problems. She suffers ear discharge, headaches, and a gradual loss of hearing. It is difficult for her to communicate with her family and other villagers, and she is embarrassed that she cannot hear well. She visited several hospitals seeking care but could not afford to pay for surgery. One of the hospitals suggested she visit our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre (CSC). Sarin traveled to CSC and, after examination, learned that she will be able to receive treatment. On October 17, the ENT surgeons at CSC will remove the cholesteatoma by performing a mastoidectomy procedure in her left ear. CSC is requesting $926 to fund this procedure. This covers medications, supplies, and inpatient care. Sarin said: "I hopeful that this operation will improve my hearing and prevent a brain infection."

Fully funded

Asiyatu is a married mother of two children aged 8 and 3 years. Her first child is in 3rd grade and the youngest is in nursery school. She is a homemakerwhile her husband is an Airtel money branch manager earning about $208.72 per month from his business and he takes care of all the bills at home. They live in a three-bedroomed rented house costing $29.82 per month. Asiyatu likes chatting with her children and enjoys eating chips and vegetables. Asiyatu was well until 2020 after the delivery of her second child when she noted a small lump on her left breast that was not painful. She visited a nearby hospital but did not receive help. The husband took her to Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH) after noting that the lump was getting bigger as time passed. She was brought to Partners in Hope Medical Center (PIH) for a lumpectomy which is a surgery that removes cancer from the breast through the removal of a tumor and a small rim of normal tissues around it, and a sample was sent for histology. In September, she reported back to PIH for histology results that revealed an Invasive Breast Carcinoma requiring a mastectomy. She was then referred back to KCH for surgery since the husband could no longer manage to pay for the surgery as he did with the previous one. She was scheduled for surgery the next year. Lately, Asiyatu has been experiencing needle-pricking pain that is becoming unbearable without pain-relieving medications, affecting her household chores. As a result of her pain, her husband took her back to the hospital in November for support where she was then referred back to PIH for urgent surgery seeking support under the Watsi program. Doctors at PIH confirmed the need for a modified radical mastectomy, a surgery. Their family is able to commit $89.45 to support her care and their family is raising the remaining funds. Asiyatu believes the surgical operation will help her get back home in good condition and continue taking care of her children and her caring husband. Asiyatu said, “I am ready to live with one breast as I hope to get rid of all my pains and have my perfect life back again.”

$398to go