JoAnn joined Watsi on October 1st, 2015. Six years ago, JoAnn joined our Universal Fund, supporting life-changing treatments for a new Watsi patient every month. JoAnn's most recent donation supported Gladys, a 47-year old woman from Kenya, to fund a thyroidectomy.
JoAnn has funded healthcare for 70 patients in 12 countries.
JoAnn has funded healthcare for 70 patients in 12 countries.
Gladys is a 47-year-old hardworking woman and a mother to three children. Gladys is separated from her husband and now lives with two of her children in a small rented room. In January, Gladys began experiencing troubling symptoms including neck swelling, headaches, and difficulty swallowing. She was diagnosed with an enlarged thyroid and needs surgery to prevent her symptoms from getting worse. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare (AMH), is helping Gladys receive treatment. She is scheduled to undergo a thyroidectomy on June 9th at AMH's care center, where surgeons will remove all or part of her thyroid gland. Now, she needs help to fund this $657 procedure. Gladys shared, "if this condition is treated, I can continue with my work. I am requesting help so that I can be treated and be okay to take care of my children."
Rexa is a 47-year-old mother from Malawi. She has four children, and her sister lives together with their family. Rexa has been selling second-hand clothes called kaunjika locally, but had to pause her business last December due to her health condition. Rexa’s husband is an electrician and is currently unemployed. Two of their children are in college, and they shared that their family is struggling to pay their school fees. Rexa also cares for her mom, who lives in the village. Last December, Rexa started having sharp pains in her abdomen radiating to the back and both legs. Her husband has taken her to many hospitals to figure out the cause of her pain, and it has cost their family a significant amount of money. After being evaluated for peptic ulcers, heart, liver, and kidney problems to no avail, she finally was diagnosed in April with uterine fibroids. Fibroids are abnormal growths that develop in or on a woman's uterus. These growths may become quite large and cause severe abdominal pain and heavy bleeding. If left untreated, fibroids can continue to grow, both in size and number, and could result in increased heavy bleeding or a fatal case of anemia. Rexa was referred to Partners in Hope Medical Center for further review and the gynecologist recommended that she undergo a hysterectomy, which will remove her uterus and cervix and hopefully cure her of this pain. However, she has no insurance and is unable to pay for the cost of her care due to her family's earnings. Rexa will be receiving assistance from our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare. She is scheduled to undergo a hysterectomy on May 28th, and African Mission Healthcare is requesting $1,363 to cover the total cost of her procedure and care. After the surgery, Rexa is hopeful that she will stop having abdominal pains and can return to normal life, which can help her resume her business and support her family members again. Rexa's husband shared, “I am excited that finally there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel. When my wife feels pain, I also feel pain and I fail to go and look for work to support the family. I strongly believe that this surgery will bring an end to our misery and sleepless nights. Now we will stop begging relatives for support with even transport money to the hospital, I am very grateful to the donors!”
Alex is a three-year-old boy and the youngest of two children in his family. Alex's mother works at home taking care of their family. His father used to work as a mechanic, but unfortunately had a stroke and is currently bedridden at home. When Alex was two years old, his mother noticed that his gait was becoming abnormal. He began tiptoeing while walking and experienced difficulty with his balance. He was taken to a hospital in Nairobi where his family was told that his condition would improve as he grows. Instead, his condition has deteriorated. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare (AMH), is helping Alex to receive life-changing treatment. On May 9th, Alex is scheduled to undergo bilateral achilles tendon lengthening surgery at AMH's care center. Now, AMH is requesting $1,224 to fund Alex's surgery. Alex's mother shared, “I am appealing to the people of goodwill to assist me so that my son can undergo surgery and walk normally like other children.”
Isack is 34-year-old from Tanzania and the youngest in a family of six children. One of his older brothers passed away last year due to COVID-19, leaving the family in a tough situation. Before his accident, Isack was working as a driver’s assistant in a truck with his brother, who was the driver. Working as a driver's assistant helped Isack make a living and he was able to support himself. In 2019, however, Isack was involved in an accident which left him with an open wound on his right leg. On the day of the accident, Isack was checking on the truck that was being serviced. As the mechanics were working, gas was unknowingly spilt on Isack's trousers. Afterwards, a match stick caught on Isack's right trouser leg starting a fire. Since then, Isack has not been able to work or support himself due to his leg injury. The wound is not healing, making walking very difficult. Fortunately, our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare, is helping Isack receive treatment. On March 19th, surgeons will perform a skin graft procedure to heal his wound and infection. Now, Isack needs help to fund this $747 procedure. Isack shared, "I am not able to work and support myself because of my leg. My family is currently struggling and they too cannot help due to lack of money. Please help me have my leg treated so that I can work."
Htun is a 50-year-old man from Thailand. He lives with his wife, son, and two daughters in Thailand. Htun and his wife work as agricultural day laborers, but Htun had to stop working after he injured his eye. Currently, Htun can only perceive light with both of his eyes, but he cannot clearly see objects. Although he is not in pain, he needs someone to assist him when he walks or eats. He also cannot work nor do any household chores as a result of losing his vision. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is requesting $1,500 to fund lens replacement surgery for Htun. On March 2nd, doctors will perform the lens replacement surgery, and they will remove Htun's natural lenses and replace them with an intraocular lens implant in each eye. After his surgery, Htun will be able to see clearly and get back to all that he needs to do in the day. Htun said, “I am sad and depressed that I cannot see nor do anything. I feel sorry that my wife has had to accompany me everywhere and do every little thing for me such as helping me eat and go to the bathroom. I want to regain my vision quickly and I want to go back to work.”
Scholastica is a 6-month-old baby girl from Tanzania. She is the last born in a family of six children. Scholastica was born a healthy child but, at four months of age, her mother noticed her head was growing very fast and she was not able to support it. They could not afford the cost of seeking care at the regional hospital at the time. Scholastica's parents are small scale farmers and work hard to make ends meet with their income. Eventually, they were able to get some money from relatives and took her back to the regional hospital. There, Scholastica was diagnosed with hydrocephalus, a condition in which excess cerebrospinal fluid accumulates in the brain and increases intracranial pressure. Without treatment, Scholastica will experience severe physical and developmental delays. Unfortunately, she was not able to get an appointment at the regional hospital for a long time. As time went on, Scholastica's condition grew worse. Her head increased in size and her eyes began rolling down. Though they were concerned, her parents could not raise money to seek an alternative hospital for care. Eventually, their friend referred them to our medical partner's care center, ALMC Plaster House. Their friends and neighbours supported them with bus fare for the two-day journey to the hospital. Now, she is scheduled for an ETV surgery to treat her condition, and the family appeals for financial support for this procedure. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $1,300 to cover the cost of ETV surgery for Scholastica that will treat her hydrocephalus. The procedure is scheduled to take place on January 25th and will drain the excess fluid from Scholastica's brain. This will reduce intracranial pressure and greatly improve her quality of life. It will also reduce the likelihood of severe fevers, vomiting, and potential brain damage. With proper treatment, Scholastica will hopefully develop into a strong, healthy young girl. Scholastica’s mother shared, "We travelled for two days because we were told there is hope for my daughter to get help. Please help save her.”
Phearin is a 24-year-old from Cambodia. He has three older brothers who are all married. When he is not working, Phearin enjoys playing football, listening to music, playing games on his phone, and meeting up with his friends in the evening. In August, Phearin was in a motor vehicle accident that caused a clavicle fracture and paralysis of his right arm. His family took him to a private clinic where the fracture was treated. He has been diagnosed with a brachial plexus injury on his right side. The brachial plexus is a nerve network that transmits signals from the spine to the shoulder, arm, and hand. Injuries to this nerve network can result in loss of function and sensation. He is unable to lift his arm and he cannot work. Phearin traveled to our medical partner's care center to receive treatment. On December 9th, he will undergo a brachial plexus repair surgery. After recovery, he will be able to use his arm again. Our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre, is requesting $696 to fund this procedure. Phearin said, "I really hope I can regain use of my arm so I can return to working as soon as possible."
Benson is an 18-year-old student from Kenya. He is the eldest in a family of 8 children. Benson's father is a farmer, while his mother is a housewife. Benson is a very focused young man who wants to become famous. He shared his hope that if he can undergo surgery on his hand, he will be able to study hard, join the university, and one day become a politician and help people from marginalized areas. When he was young, Benson had an accident and fell on a burning fire. As a result, his hands and fingers were severely burned and sustained contractures. At school, he faces difficulty with writing; and at home he cannot bathe well, hold things, or help his parents. Fortunately, our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is helping Benson receive treatment. On December 1st, surgeons at their care center will perform a burn contracture release surgery so that he can regain some use of his hand and finger. Now, he needs help to fund this $840 procedure. Benson shared, “If I can get help to undergo surgery on my hands, I can be able to do my own things rather than depending on my younger siblings for help."
Akatwijuka is a child from Uganda. He is the only child that his parents have and his mother is pregnant and expecting her next child toward the end of this year. Akatwijuka’s mother is a small-scale farmer and so is her father. Since birth, Akatwijuka has had an inguinal hernia. This hernia causes him pain and discomfort Fortunately, on July 21st, he will undergo hernia repair surgery at our medical partner's care center. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $230 to fund Akatwijuka's surgery. Once completed, this procedure will hopefully allow him to live more comfortably and confidently. Akatwijuka's mother shared, “I hope that when my child successfully receives his surgery, he will again be in a position to grow normally with others and attain a good health once again.”
Naw Mar is a 35-year-old woman from Thailand. She lives with her husband, two daughters and two sons in a refugee camp on the Thai-Burma border. Four years ago, Naw Mar started to suffer from pain in the right side of her abdomen. At first, she thought the pain would disappear after she rested. When it did not, she went to the hospital in the camp run by Malteser International Thailand (MI). She received medications which helped for a bit. Two years later, the pain became severe and the right side of her abdomen also became swollen. After more medication and follow-up appointments, she was eventually admitted to Mae Sariang Hospital and received an ultrasound. The ultrasound showed that she had multiple gallstones, and she was given more medication. However, the medication did not help her much. In early June 2020, the pain in Naw Mar’s right abdomen increased. After she went to the camp’s hospital, the doctor referred her to Mae Sariang Hospital again, where the doctor told her that she would need to have surgery to remove the gallstones. Since Mae Sariang Hospital doctors could not perform this surgery, she was again referred her to Chiang Mai Hospital. However, the high cost of surgery proved difficult, so she was referred to our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF), for assistance with accessing treatment. Currently, Naw Mar has constant pain in her right abdomen that is only manageable through pain medication. Her right abdomen is also swollen, and she suffers from back pain as well. When the pain in her abdomen is excruciating, she develops a headache and high blood pressure. Naw Mar is a homemaker, while her two daughters and her youngest son go to school. Her oldest son helps her with household chores. Her husband works as an agricultural day laborer, but has been unable to find work for the past month. While their family does receive a cash card each month for food support, it is not enough to cover their daily expenses and they struggle to make ends meet despite receiving free health care and education in the refugee camp. Their family is appealing for financial support. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is requesting $1,500 to fund Naw Mar's surgery. On October 25th, she will undergo a cholecystectomy at our medical partner’s care center. Once recovered, Naw Mar will be able to resume her daily activities free of pain and her quality of life will improve. Naw Mar shared, "After I receive treatment, I want to work for an organisation [NGO] in the camp so that we [my family] can have an income. Right now, I have no pocket money and I cannot borrow money from any one because we have no way of paying them back. I appreciate any support you can provide.”
Meet Britney, a 14-year-old girl from a village in Meru County. Britney likes socializing and playing handball. She aspires to become a doctor in future to help patients who are going through tough times in the hospital. Britney is the second born in a family of three children. Her father is a small businessman while her mother is a farmer. While playing with a few other girls, Britney slipped in the field and injured her left foot. She has been to different hospitals for x-rays and seeking treatment, but her condition has been worsening. It affects her mobility and is causing her to feel pain anytime she walks. Britney cannot stand for long and doing household duties is also a challenge for her now. Surgery will be of great impact as she will be able to walk without any challenge and the pain which she has been feeling whenever she walks, will be alleviated. “I want my foot to be corrected so that I can walk well like other girls,” Britney told us.
Abraham is a motorbike taxi operator from Kenya. He is married and a father of three children, the oldest is six and the youngest is two weeks old. The young couple depend on casual jobs to cater to the needs of their young family. Abraham is known to his friends and villagers as the tall and slim guy. He is a hardworking young man. One week ago, Abraham was involved in a road traffic accident while he was riding on the motorbike and sustained a traumatic right tibia fibula fracture. He is in pain and he cannot walk. Fortunately, surgeons at our medical partner can help. On August 24th, Abraham will undergo a fracture repair procedure, called an open reduction and internal fixation. This treatment will help Abraham's leg heal well and he will no longer be in pain. He will also be able to walk on his own and continue working to care for his young family. Now, our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $1,016 to fund this procedure. Abraham says, “I wish I was home to help my wife, it’s barely two weeks since we had our baby. She needs a lot of support. I feel sorry for her. If I could be walking now I would be providing for my family. I have faith that I will walk again so that I can continue supporting my family.”