JoAnn McGowanMONTHLY DONOR
JoAnn's Story

JoAnn joined Watsi on October 1st, 2015. Seven years ago, JoAnn joined our Universal Fund, supporting life-changing treatments for a new Watsi patient every month. JoAnn's most recent donation supported Grace, a happy 9-year-old from Kenya, to fund clubfoot repair surgery so she can walk easily.

Impact

JoAnn has funded healthcare for 85 patients in 12 countries.

All patients funded by JoAnn

Khin is a 40-year-old woman who enjoys growing flowers and vegetables in her free time. She lives with her husband, son, and four daughters in Burma. She is a homemaker and takes care of her youngest daughter while her husband sells snacks in front of their home. Her son works in a teashop and her three oldest daughters currently attend primary school. Khin shares that she hopes to run a fruit shop to further support her family once she recovers. When Khin was 22 years old, she developed an ulcer on her right heel that made it difficult to put weight on her foot and walk. Fortunately, she received multiple skin grafts and the ulcer eventually healed. However, the ulcer returned in 2019, and despite receiving the same treatment as before, she was only able to walk with a limp after surgery. Last April, Khin began experiencing severe pain on her right heel once again. She eventually sought medical attention and was told by her doctor that she has cancer in her right lower leg. Her doctor advised that she have her leg amputated below her knee, but due to financial constraints, she could not proceed with the surgery and returned home. After three months, the pain continued to worsen and Khin visited our medical partner's care center, Mawlamyine Christian Leprosy Hospital (MCLH), to request painkillers. After examining her leg, the doctor at MCLH told her that she would have to have her lower right leg amputated to prevent the spread of the cancer. Just as before, Khin refused the amputation. The doctor then referred her to the oncology department of Mawlamyine General Hospital and recommended that she receive a biopsy to confirm her diagnosis and need for surgery. The biopsy revealed that she has skin cancer. Khin decided that she wanted to proceed with the amputation despite being unable to fund the cost. The doctor admitted her that same day and fortunately referred her to our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF), for financial assistance accessing treatment. On September 1st, surgeons at MCLH's care center will perform a leg amputation. Now, BCMF is requesting $1,500 to fund Khin's life-changing procedure. Khin shares, “I just came to MCLH for painkillers, and I did not know that the doctor would help me through donors. When I heard that I could have surgery with the help of donors, I felt so happy and my stress was relieved. My family also encouraged me to have the amputation so I can live a longer life with my children. I would like to say thank you to the donors for giving me a chance to live longer with my children.”

$1,500raised
Fully funded

Sa is a 36-year-old woman who likes to sew clothes. She also enjoys doing household chores and making delicious curries. Her husband is a nightguard at a hospital. Since 2015, Sa started to experience pain in her back and her pelvic area. Since December, her pain has worsened which makes it hard for her to sleep. She shared that she is feeling increasingly worried and depressed since she first experienced the pain and realized that she was unwell. Watsi donors helped support a CT scan and doctors have now diagnosed her with bilateral ovarian cancer. To help treat her condition, her doctors advised Sa to undergo a total abdominal hysterectomy, the surgical removal of her uterus and cervix. If left untreated, Sa's symptoms will continue to worsen and put her at risk for further health complications in the future. Fortunately, Sa is scheduled to undergo her hysterectomy on February 25th. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is requesting $1,500 to cover the total cost of her procedure and care. Once recovered, she is hopeful that she'll no longer be in pain and will have a better shot at recovering from cancer. Sa said, "I was very worried when I heard that I needed surgery and that it would cost a lot of money. I was worried that if the donors stopped helping me, where would I come up with enough money to pay for my surgery. I could not sleep last night, constantly worrying about my treatment cost. When I called BCMF's staff and they told me that donors could pay for my surgery, I felt so much better. Thank you everyone for helping me."

$1,500raised
Fully funded

Velonica is a 43-year-old woman and a mother of three living children. She shared that she lost a set of twins just a few days after birth some 15 years ago but still holds fond memories of her lovely tiny twins. Her children are aged between 25 and 8 years old and they are all in school. The oldest daughter is at a teachers' training college and the youngest in 4th grade in primary school. Velonica lives with her children and husband in Dowa about 40 kilometers away from the city of Lilongwe in Malawi. She and her husband are subsistent farmers, although they usually don’t have enough food for the year and they seek support from her husband’s relatives that live in the same village. In 2013, Velonica developed a swelling on her neck. She visited different hospitals and finally was referred to Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH) where a diagnosis of goiter was made. A partial thyroidectomy was done at the facility in 2014. However, in 2019 her neck swelling resurfaced again. She started feeling pain, having sleepless nights, difficulties in swallowing, feeling neck tightness, and headaches. She reported again to Kamuzu Central Hospital and a rescan was recommended but unfortunately, it was not done at the time. While seeking alternatives, Velonica came to Partners in Hope Medical Center. She was seen by a surgeon who, after laboratory tests and a scan, concluded that her goiter has recurred. He recommended surgery to remove the enlarged thyroid gland in a procedure called a total thyroidectomy. Velonica is currently unable to help her husband on the farm and has challenges in performing daily duties. She is unable to lift water on her head or to carry other heavy loads. Velonica feels the condition is interfering with her life and is looking forward to living her normal life again soon. Velonica said, “I live at my husband’s village among my in-laws and it has been about 2 years now of failing to do the things that every woman does, this is threatening my marriage and makes me feel bad. I hope this operation will bring an end to all this and I will be able to do my household chores again.”

$1,015raised
Fully funded