Thomas joined Watsi on August 8th, 2013. 201 other people also joined Watsi on that day! Thomas' most recent donation traveled 8,800 miles to support San, a farmer from Cambodia, for surgery to restore her vision.
Thomas has funded healthcare for 96 patients in 12 countries.
Thomas has funded healthcare for 96 patients in 12 countries.
San is a 54-year-old rice and crop farmer living in Cambodia with her husband, two sons, two daughters, and nine grandchildren. She enjoys visiting the pagoda to join in ceremonies. Ten years ago, San developed blurred vision, tearing, and irritation in both eyes. She has been unable to see clearly, do her work well, and is unhappy with her appearance. She and her sister traveled to our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre (CSC), for further evaluation, and she was found with a pterygium in each eye. Pterygiums are non-cancerous growths of the conjunctiva, a mucous layer that lubricates the eye. The growths occur when the conjunctiva is exposed to excessive sun damage, and the cells grow abnormally over the pupil. The growth can cause discomfort and obstruct vision. There is a higher prevalence for pterygiums along the equator, where there is more sun exposure. San needs a surgical procedure to scrape and remove the abnormal conjunctiva from the cornea surface, and replace it with a conjunctival graft to prevent recurrence. The CSC tells us that for $148, San can have the procedure she needs. The total cost covers the procedure, supplies, and two days of inpatient care. After her pterygium excision surgery, San's discomfort will be relieved and her vision will improve.
Soun is a 75-year-old grandmother living with her family in Cambodia. She is married with four daughters and ten grandchildren. She enjoys visiting the pagoda and listening to the monks pray in her free time. Six months ago, Soun started having blurred vision, and became unable to do her work or travel alone safely. She and her daughter traveled for an hour to visit our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre (CSC). She was found with a cataract in each eye, and was recommended surgical treatment. Soun's doctors told her she was in need of a phacoemulsification and an intraocular lens implant in each eye, which will replace her internal lenses and restore her vision to full clarity. In total, the procedure, supplies, drugs, and three days of inpatient care will cost $292. Soun's family needs financial assistance to complete payment. After recovering from surgery, Soun will be able to see clearly again.
"I am unhappy that I have ear pain, and it is hard for me to talk with other people,” shares Hin, a 52-year-old farmer who lives with her husband and six children in Cambodia. “For two months, Hin's right ear has had discharge, pain, and hearing loss caused by trauma with a cotton Q-tip,” our medical partner, Children’s Surgical Centre (CSC), tells us. “Her tympanic membrane was perforated.” The tympanic membrane—commonly known as the eardrum—is a thin membrane that separates the external ear structures from the middle and inner ear. It plays a major role in hearing by transmitting sound waves from the air to the middle ear, where the waves are converted to nerve impulses that travel to the brain. The eardrum also protects the middle ear from foreign objects, water, and bacteria. A tear in the eardrum can lead to hearing loss—as Hin as experiencing—and poses an increased risk for infection. For $399, Hin will undergo a myringoplasty to repair the tear in her eardrum. Funding also pays for up to two days of hospital care and three follow-up appointments in the first month after the surgery. “After a myringoplasty on the right side,” says CSC, “Hin's ear drainage will stop, and her hearing will improve. She will not feel pain from her ear anymore.” Hin’s husband looks forward to a successful surgery for his wife. “I hope after the operation is done, my wife's ear discharge will stop, and she can have good hearing and health,” he says.
Mamerta is a 45-year-old mother from the Philippines. With her husband, she runs a small business selling snacks. “In her spare time she is fond of making delicious snacks for her children,” our medical partner, International Care Ministries (ICM), tells us. Mamerta has developed a goiter; an abnormally enlarged thyroid gland. This manifests as a bulge in her neck. Because of the goiter, “Mamerta experiences physical discomfort when she does many things, such as carrying heavy things, working house chores for long hours, and there is slight discomfort when eating solid food,” explains ICM. Mamerta needs a thyroidectomy, or surgical removal of her thyroid gland. This surgery would normally not be affordable for Mamerta, as she and her husband barely bring in enough income from selling snacks to support themselves and their children. However, for $1,500, we can fund the procedure she needs. Not only will funding cover Mamerta’s thyroidectomy, but it will also pay for her transportation to and from the hospital, and all post-operative care. “Thank you so much for paving the way to my healing,” Mamerta shares. “After the treatment, I am excited to feel better and take care of my family without any difficulty.”
Iker is a playful, 10-month-old baby boy who lives with his parents and older brother in an adobe house in Guatemala. Iker enjoys eating fruit, bananas being his favorite, and he eats eggs and beans whenever his parents can buy them. Our medical partner, Wuqu’ Kawoq (WK), tells us that because of this limited access to the nutritious food he needs, Iker is living with malnutrition. "His height and weight are far below the average for his age, and he is lagging developmentally behind his peers.” Along with the lack of hearty and nutritional food, his condition is amplified by a gastrointestinal disease that has "prevented this little boy from absorbing the nutrients necessary to grow.” WK shares. “Without intervention, this will then affect Iker’s ability to build a strong immune system, thus increasing his susceptibility to other illnesses.” $512 pays for a thorough diagnostic work and treatment for Iker. A deworming medication will help his ability to absorb the micronutrient supplementation he will receive. "His immune system will strengthen, and his energy will increase," WK adds. "Over time, he will be able to recoup the weight and height he has lost, and catch up to his more healthy peers.” His family will also be paired with a nutritionist that will help plan meals and monitor his growth. “In this program, his mother will receive intensive nutrition education that will give her skills to purchase nutrient dense food options and prepare healthier meals." His mother shares: "Without this, I am not sure my little Iker would be able to get better.”
Yunis is a hard working 19-year-old woman from Tanzania, where she lives with her parents and five siblings. “She just completed her secondary education last year and she hopes to get good results and continue with higher level of education. She enjoys playing netball and at home she helps her mother with everyday chores,” shares our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation (AMHF). Some years ago, Yunis got her ears pierced. According to AMHF, this led to keloids on both ears. Keloids result from the overgrowth of scar tissue, generally occurring at a site where skin is injured. They are hard growths often larger than the original wound itself. Yunis has undergone three surgical procedures to treat the keloids. The keloid on her right ear went away after the first procedure, but the left ear keloid continues to persist. Because of the keloids, Yunis experiences itching on her left ear, and cannot leave the house without a hat. If she does not get treated, the keloid will continue to grow and impact her self-esteem. AMHF can treat Yunis with mass excision surgery. They tell us that with this surgery, “The keloid will be removed, and that will boost Yunis’ self-confidence.” Treatment will cost a total of $920, which covers surgical and medical expenses, as well as six days in the hospital and six weeks at a rehabilitation center. Unfortunately, with four of their children in school, Yunis’ parents cannot afford to pay for anymore procedures. “I am interested in studying environmental law, so I hope I will continue with school,” shares Yunis.
“Thu is a 42-year-old Burmese woman who lives with her two daughters, ages 19 and nine,” our medical partner, Burma Border Projects (BBP), tells us. “Her elder daughter is recently married and her husband lives with the family. Her youngest daughter is a student in grade three. Thu also has two sons who have moved away to start their own families.” Thus has congenital circulatory malformations and heart defects. “Thu first experienced her symptoms, which include chest pain, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, and high blood pressure, two years ago,” BBP explains. “Prior to the onset of her symptoms, Thu and her oldest daughter worked together selling flowers in the market,” BBP continues. “Their combined income was sufficient for the family’s expenses, but Thu hasn’t been able to handle the physical activity of her work, so her daughter as assumed all work responsibilities.” Complex cardiac treatment and surgery for Thu costs $1,500 and will be performed in Thailand. Burma Children's Medical Fund, an organization that has a strong enough relationship with the relevant Thai authorities to facilitate the transportation to, and treatment of, Burmese people at Thai hospitals, is subsidizing the treatment with an additional $13,525. “Following successful treatment, Thu will be able to return to her family and recommence work so that she can contribute to the family finances,” BBP says. “If I can regain my health, our family situation will improve greatly,” shares Thu.
16-year-old Ei originally met our medical partner, Burma Border Projects (BBP), when she was 11-years-old. Then, she had been diagnosed with a cardiac condition and has been medically treated ever since. Due to her worsening symptoms of racing heartbeat and shortness of breath, Ei must now undergo surgical treatment for her congenital heart disease. BBP tells us that Ei dreams of becoming a teacher. One of her favorite things to do is run but her condition has made it difficult for her to do so. "Ei's health issues are causing her parents a great amount of anguish as they do not have sufficient income to pay for health care inside Burma," shares our medical partner. For $1,500, doctors will perform a mitral valve replacement surgery on her heart to repair the damage of her congenital heart disease. Burma Children Medical Fund, an organization that facilitates the transportation and treatment of Burmese people at Thai hospitals, is subsidizing the treatment with an additional $13,525. BBP adds, "Following surgery, Ei should be able to return to the activities she enjoys and to resume school so that she can fulfill her dream of going on to higher education."
Seven-year-old Jonenskia was born with a cardiac condition called ventricular septal defect, in which a hole exists between the two lower chambers of her heart. “Blood flows through the hole in her heart without first passing through the lungs to get oxygen, leaving her sickly and short of breath,” says our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance (HCA). “Because she has lived for so long with this condition, there is a chance it may no longer be repairable, but the only way to determine this is by inserting a catheter into the chambers of her heart. Since this is not possible in Haiti, arrangements are being made to bring her to Dominican Republic to perform this extremely important test in the hopes that she can have heart surgery later in the year.” Jonenskia lives in Port-au-Prince with her mother, father, and three sisters. Her father works in construction and her mother stays home with the children. She is in primary school and likes going to school and playing with her friends. "We are praying to God that Jonenskia can have an operation so that we don't have to worry about her heart anymore,” her mother says. With $1,500 we can fully fund Jonenskia’s travel, transportation, and diagnostic procedure to help move her treatment forward.
Mukuru is a 52-year-old woman living in Uganda. She is a mother of six and both she and her husband work to support their family. Mukuru has a thyroid goiter -- an enlarged thyroid that causes swelling and pain. “About three years ago, Mukuru felt a swelling in her neck but she did not think much of it,” says her doctor. “After one year, she started to experience pain.” The goiter is also causing Mukuru to experience palpitations, difficulty eating, and disturbed sleep. “Mukuru went to the hospital and was booked for surgery but could not raise the required amount,” our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation (AMHF) tells us. Her pain has made it difficult for her to work and obtain her usual income. For $170, she can receive a thyroidectomy to remove the enlarged part of her thyroid. This operation ensures that Mukuru’s condition cannot persist, providing her with a long-term solution. “After the surgery, Mukuru will stop having the severe pain, palpitations, and difficulty feeding,” AMHF states. Once fully recovered, “Mukuru will be able to work and take care of her family.” “I really want to be fine so that this pain can go away,” shares Mukuru.
73-year-old Kry spends her time working around the house and visiting the pagoda to listen to monks pray. She has two children and three grandchildren. “Kry developed a cataract in each eye three months ago," says our medical partner, Children’s Surgical Centre (CSC). "This causes her tearing, blurred vision, and pain." Kry shares that “it is hard to do house work very well or go anywhere outside. I can't recognize the faces of people clearly.” Cataracts occur as proteins develop in the lens of the eye, causing cloudiness. Without treatment, the cloudiness increases over time and results in slowly deteriorating vision. They can ultimately result in total blindness. For $225, we can fund surgery to replace the lenses on both her eyes and cure her cataracts. In each eye, doctors will make a small incision to surgically remove the clouded lens and replace it with a new, artificial lens. "I hope after treatment I can see everything clearly again so I can easily go walking anywhere on my own and do any work,” shares Kry.
“I am unable to sell at my shop and even to cook for the child who is at home,” says Margaret, a 46-year-old shopkeeper from Kenya is who raising two children on her own. “Margaret is experiencing heavy menses, excessive bleeding, and pain,” our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation (AMHF), tells us. Margaret has been experiencing this for about five years, but noticed increased bleeding last month which has not stopped. "Margaret received a pelvic scan, which confirmed she has multiple fibroids." Fibroids are benign tumors that grow within the muscle tissue of the uterus and are very common. They can be very small (invisible to the naked eye) or very large (melon-sized) and can be a single mass or a cluster of masses. AMHF continues, “If not treated, Margaret will continue to bleed, which may lead to anemia. The fibroids will also continue to grow, affecting surrounding organs.” Doctors recommend that Margaret have a total abdominal hysterectomy to remove her uterus and cervix. Margaret’s income from her shop is not enough to support her family and pay for the surgery that she needs. $790 covers the cost of surgery, medicine, and a five-day hospital stay. “Margaret will be free from the pain, bleeding, and risk of anemia," AMHF expects. "She will be strong again to care for her children and improve her business.” “I pray that Watsi will come to my aid and that my operation will be successful," Margaret shares. "If I get well, I hope to expand my small business.”