Chelsea joined Watsi on December 2nd, 2014. Eight years ago, Chelsea joined our Universal Fund, supporting life-changing treatments for a new Watsi patient every month. Chelsea's most recent donation traveled 1,500 miles to support Angélica, a baby girl from Guatemala, for malnutrition treatment and formula.
Chelsea has funded healthcare for 17 patients in 6 countries.
Chelsea has funded healthcare for 17 patients in 6 countries.
Angelica is a newborn baby girl from rural Guatemala. She was born one month prematurely. She was small and weak when she was born, and acquired an infection in her eyes and now her lungs. When she came to see us at the clinic, she was very sick, but now she is doing much better after receiving hospital care. Unfortunately, her mother had to receive antibiotics that are unsafe for breastfeeding. Since her mother had to stop breastfeeding while taking the medications, she lost her ability to make milk and now Angelica is acutely malnourished. Her mother says her heart breaks because she is unable to give her daughter enough milk to make her stop crying. Angelica lives with her parents and her older siblings in a humble one-room wood house with a tin roof. Her mother is worried because she can see her daughter losing weight, and she does not have enough milk to feed her. Since she spends so much time caring for Angelica and her father works as a day laborer in the coffee fields, barely making enough money to support basic living costs, they cannot afford the extremely expensive formula Angelica needs to survive. Although Angelica's life is in danger now, the treatment she needs to be a healthy and happy baby is simple. She will receive formula with the protein, calories, and nutrients she needs to grow and develop. Her immune system will grow stronger with the formula, and she will no longer cry from hunger. This treatment will not only save Angelica's life, but will mean she is no longer at risk for seizures, diarrhea, and long-term developmental delays due to her lack of milk. "My desire is that my daughter gets better and can grow healthily," her mother said. "I want to see her get big so that she can go to the school and study and be a person like you all that helps the people that need it."
Meet Layoni, a two-year-old boy from Tanzania. Our medical partner, African Mission Health Foundation (AMHF), tells us that Layoni was born to a large, loving family. His parents are both small scale farmers and tend a few livestock to support their five children. "Layoni was born with multiple deformities; Spina bifida, hydrocephalus and bilateral clubfoot," AMHF tells us. His neural tube defects were addressed with surgery when he was young, and he is doing much better because he received the medical treatment he needed at the time. "He likes to crawl and sit together with other children drawing on the ground," shares AMHF. He is getting eager to stand and walk, but with clubfeet, a musculoskeletal malformation where the feet are twisted out of shape, his feet and ankles are unable to support weight. With $1160, Layoni will receive surgery, stretching, and casting to reshape and strengthen his muscles. AMHF will provide a surgeon and hospital respite for his recovery, so that Layoni will be able to run around and play with other children. "I hope my grandson will one day be able to walk," Layoni's grandmother shared in their pre-operative interview with AMHF. With our help, Layoni will be able to walk normally.
40-year-old Taw is a farmer who lives with her husband, son, and four daughters in Burma. Her family practices swidden agriculture—a rotational farming method in which different plots of land are cleared for cultivation each year—to grow rice, green beans, and cucumbers to feed themselves. Taw spent several months away from her husband and children while receiving treatment for choriocarcinoma, a cancer of the uterus that occurs during pregnancy. The fast-growing cancer cells develop within the tissue that becomes the placenta. Costs associated with Taw’s previous medical care have left the family with a large amount of debt. With no income from the farm and no external sources of financial support, they have no means of paying for additional treatment for Taw or even education fees or clothes for the children. In addition, the shifting of roles within the family has decreased productivity on the farm and puts them at risk of not producing enough food to feed themselves. “Taw’s current symptoms include gripping abdominal pain and tight muscle spasms in her lower back that force her to lie down,” our medical partner, Burma Border Projects (BBP), tells us. “She experiences ongoing bleeding, has spells of dizziness and headaches, and is easily fatigued.” “Taw has been unable to work, and her husband has taken time off to care for her and their sick daughter,” BBP continues. “This has forced their 14-year-old daughter to drop out of school and to take up considerable responsibility to support the family.” For $1500, Taw will undergo a hysterectomy to remove her uterus. Funding also covers the costs of pre- and post-surgical consultations, seven days of hospital care, and transportation to and from the hospital. “It is hoped that surgery will improve the health condition and comfort of Taw so that she can return to her family,” says BBP. “When I recover, I will work hard to provide for my children," Taw shares.
“I hope to become a primary school teacher when I grow up,” says Lucy, a 17-year-old student from Tanzania who is the sixth of seven children in her family. At school, Lucy works hard in her classes and enjoys playing netball, and at home, she helps her mother with the evening chores. “Lucy has a mass on her left radial bone which became visible when she was nine years old,” our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation (AMHF), tells us. “Very slowly, the mass has been increasing in size, and it is now painful when she goes about her activities such as lifting a bucket of water or washing clothes.” Treatment for Lucy entails surgery to remove the mass to prevent further growth and relieve the pain that she experiences with activity. “If not treated,” AMHF explains, “the mass may become cancerous as it continues to grow.” Lucy’s father owns a small shop where he sells spare parts for bicycles and motorcycles, and her mother makes soap to sell. They also maintain a small farm to raise food to feed their family. Despite their hard work, they are unable to afford the surgery that Lucy needs. For $920, Lucy will undergo surgery to remove the mass on her arm. Funding also covers the costs of pre and post-operative consultations, six days of hospital care, lab work, imaging, medicine, and six weeks of accommodations at the Plaster House for recovery and rehabilitation. After surgery, “The pain and swelling on the radial bone will be gone, allowing Lucy to perform various activities comfortably,” says AMHF.
38-year-old Dah lives in Burma with her husband, her 18-year-old niece, and her three children. Our medical partner, Burma Border Projects (BBP), says that both Dah’s niece and 13-year-old daughter are in school. To support the family, Dah’s son earns a modest income working as a hunter. This past August, Dah felt a palpable mass in her abdomen caused by ovarian cysts. When her symptoms persisted, Dah initially sought medical care locally, but her condition was misdiagnosed and left untreated. Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled masses that develop within the uterus. BBP explains that without treatment, “Dah's abdomen is growing bigger everyday and she suffers from back pain. She did not want to seek treatment for her condition in Burma, because she knows that she would not be able to afford the medical costs.” For $1,500, Dah will receive a total abdominal hysterectomy--removing her uterus, cervix, and painful masses during a single operation. This treatment will alleviate Dah’s immediate symptoms and prevent her condition from recurring in the future. “Following surgery for ovarian cysts, Dah will no longer have bloating of her stomach and back pain,” BBP states. “After recovering, she will be able to commence looking for work in a local clinic.” Burma Children's Medical Fund, an organization that facilitates the transportation and treatment of Burmese people at Thai hospitals, is subsidizing this surgery by $1,421. "I want to get surgery for my condition so I don’t have to worry about that anymore," Dah shares. "When I have recovered from that, I would like to start working in a clinic and helping people. My first priority now is to get healthy and feel better. Then, I can continue with my dreams.”
Ronald is a 13-year-old boy who lives in Kenya with his mother, father, and two younger siblings. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation (AMHF) describes Ronald as, “shy, calm, and quiet.” Ronald was born with hypospadias, a congenital condition in which the urethra does not grow to its full length. As a result, the urethral opening is located on the underside of the penis, which in turn causes an irregular stream. If left untreated, hypospadias can lead to frequent urinary tract infections, infertility, and social stigma. When Ronald’s parents first noticed his hypospadias when he was a baby, they took him to the nearest hospital. At the time, however, it seemed like a minor problem that may later improve. AMHF tells us, “It wasn’t until Ronald had reached the age at which many young boys in his culture transition into manhood—through a rite of passage commonly known as circumcision—that they noticed nothing had changed.” At this point, Ronald’s parents decided to, “aggressively seek treatment.” However, Ronald’s father works at a mini-market and his mother tends to their home, so they are in need of financial support. For $655 Ronald will receive hypospadias repair and 10 days of recovery in the hospital. This surgery will provide a long-term solution to Ronald’s condition by extending the length of the urethra. Ronald shares, “I can’t pass urine near my friends because I am quite sure they will laugh at me. I hope to get treated soon because I don’t want to carry that feeling with me into high school.” Ronald, who will be starting high school soon, plans to work hard, get good grades, and pursue his dream of becoming an engineer.
Meet Timothe, a three-year-old boy from Haiti. Timothe lives with his parents and five siblings. Timothe has a congenital neurological condition called hydrocephalus, which causes excess cerebrospinal fluid to build up in his brain. According to our medical partner, Project Medishare (PM), Timothe’s head first began to swell a month after he was born. “The situation of my son affects me very badly,” shares Timothe’s father. “The other kids of his age are now going to school while my son cannot even sit to carry his own head. This makes me very sad.” If untreated, hydrocephalus can lead to long-term health complications, including delayed mental development. For $1,260, Timothe will receive brain surgery to treat his hydrocephalus. A shunt will be inserted into his head, draining the excess fluid and releasing the intracranial pressure from his brain. Timothe’s mother works as a saleswoman while his father teaches at the local school. Together, they produce a modest income that is not enough to cover the cost of Timothe’s medical expenses. “I will be very excited to see my son doing well after the surgery,” Timothe’s father tells us. “I just want him to be healthy.”
"Fabrice became very ill with rheumatic fever when he was 13 years old," shares our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance (HCA). "This fever severely damaged his mitral and aortic valves, leaving his heart unable to properly pump blood through his body. As a result, he has been very weak and unable to attend school for the past five years." "18-year-old Fabrice lives in Haiti with his grandmother and his aunt. He lost his parents when he was young," HCA continues. "He has many friends even though he cannot attend school. He likes watching soccer on TV and would like to study to become either an engineer or a doctor." $1,500 will fund overseas transportation and preparation for Fabrice's heart surgery. Maine Medical Center has contributed $25,000 to fund the procedure itself. "Following surgery, Fabrice will require lifelong anticoagulation and blood testing but should otherwise be able to lead a full and normal life," HCA adds.
“I really hope Watsi will support me and that my treatment will be successful so that I can support my children and see them grow,” says Vonta, a 38-year-old single mother of two from Nairobi. Vonta works as a house cleaner, and barely makes enough money to support herself and her children. For over a year Vonta has suffered from uterine fibroids, a condition that causes heavy uterine bleeding and lower abdominal pain. The fibroids are affecting Vonta’s ability to care for her family; she explains, “This bleeding and the pain is making it difficult for me to go to work.” Without treatment, Vonta’s fibroids will continue to grow and she will be at risk for anemia. A fellow Watsi patient brought Vonta to our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation (AMHF), to seek help. For $790, Vonta will receive a total abdominal hysterectomy to remove her multiple intramural fibroids. According to her doctors at AMHF, after the procedure Vonta will be relieved of bleeding, anemia and pain, and will be able to resume work and raise her children.
Meet Jane, a 45-year-old woman from Kenya. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation (AMHF), tells us, “Jane is a joyful mother of five children. Two of her children are in school, while three have cleared high school and are in casual employment. Jane works as a clothes seller specializing in selling sheets and bedding.” AMHF explains, “Jane found a lump in her left breast during a self-examination three months ago. Since then she has been referred to three different hospitals in search of treatment. ” AMHF determined that the lump is cancerous, and Jane thus requires an immediate mastectomy to remove the cancerous tissue. Following surgery Jane will also need chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy. Even before getting sick, AMHF reports, “Jane’s business was very small and barely enabled her to pay rent, buy food and educate her children.” Now that she is ill, Jane has not been able to work often and has spent all of her savings on doctors’ visits. Thus, she cannot afford the lifesaving care she needs. With $740 in funding, Jane will receive the full scope of treatment she requires. Jane shares, “The breast is not painful but I know cancer is dangerous and it should be treated fast. I really hope to get well so that I can concentrate on my business and work with my older children to make our family better.'' AMHF adds, “Jane's children are very determined to see their mother get the treatment she needs.”
“The symptoms make it difficult to focus on my studies and that upsets me. My mind wants to study, but my body will not allow it,” says Mu Eh. Meet Mu Eh, a 19-year-old woman who lives in a refugee camp in Thailand with her parents and three younger siblings. “Mu Eh was 15 years old when she first noticed the symptoms of her condition,” shares our medical partner, Burma Border Projects (BBP). “She has made multiple visits to health clinics and hospitals over the past four years and been prescribed several different types of medication, however her symptoms have become more severe over time.” Mu Eh has nasal poylps. Nasal polyps are soft, sac-like growths on the lining of the nose or sinuses. BBP tells us they cause her pain and “make it difficult for her to breathe through her nose.” The growths also lead to “frequent headaches and her nose will sometimes swell and turn red.” Mu Eh passed grade 10 and is about to begin her post-term education. “She enjoys school and is interested in studying medicine,” BBP continues. “She occasionally misses school because of her condition and the pain makes it difficult to concentrate when she is studying.” $1500 will fund the procedure to remove the polyps along with transportation to and from the hospital. "With treatment, Mu Eh can be expected to make a full recovery and live symptom-free. She will able to return to her studies and work toward her dream of becoming a doctor.”
"Israel is a friendly and talkative six-year-old boy," says our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation (AMHF). "Even though he is not the last born in the family, he looks like he is the youngest. The severe bowing of both of his legs has made him look shorter compared to his age mates." 6-year-old Israel is a young boy from Tanzania, and has developed genu valgus (knock-knees) due to fluorosis, or high concentrations of fluoride in drinking water. "Israel walks with difficulty. He walks as if he has a problem with his hips," AMHF adds. "He is unable to run around with friends and at times he feels left out when other children are busy playing outside and no one is willing to slow down for him to catch up." Treatment for Israel's condition will cost $940. This will improve his gait and allow him to walk and grow normally. “Just like the rest of my children who are able to walk to school, I wish that Israel can also walk to school without difficulties,” says Israel’s mother.