Donatello joined Watsi on November 5th, 2015. One year ago, Donatello joined our Universal Fund, supporting life-changing treatments for a new Watsi patient every month. Donatello's most recent donation traveled 4,900 miles to support U Pyin, a 36-year-old monk from Burma, to fund heart surgery.
Donatello has funded healthcare for 22 patients in 9 countries.
Donatello has funded healthcare for 22 patients in 9 countries.
U Pyin is a 36-year-old monk who lives with three other monks, seven novice monks, and his two younger brothers, in a village in central Burma. His two younger brothers are not monks, but work at the monastery as helpers, assisting with cooking and cleaning. U Pyin has no income, but receives food and accommodation at the monastery. If he is ill, there are three local families that help to cover the costs of his basic health care expenses. In early May, U Pyin began experiencing difficulty breathing, chest pains, and headaches. One of his brothers brought him to a hospital, where tests revealed that one of the valves in his heart needs to be replaced. This is a particularly dangerous condition, as it can lead to a stroke, and U Pyin has already suffered a stroke, earlier in his life. U Pyin was given medication, an appointment to return in two months, and sent home. When U Pyin did not feel any better after taking the medication that he had been given, he and his brother decided that he should see a cardiologist in Yangon. The cardiologist confirmed U Pyin's diagnosis, and stressed the need for U Pyin to have surgery to replace the ailing mitral valve. As U Pyin was unable to pay for the surgery, the doctor referred him to an abbot for assistance. Fortunately, the abbot referred U Pyin to our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, and now U Pyin is scheduled to have mitral valve replacement surgery on June 24th, at Pun Hlaing Hospital. Burma Children Medical Fund is seeking $1,500 to cover the costs of U Pyin's procedure and care, which will enable him to breathe well and to sleep comfortably again, things that he is unable to do right now. U Pyin will also be able to return to teaching the novice monks at the monastery, which he has been unable to do because he feels so unwell. U Pyin said: “After I recover, I want to teach novice monks again and I want to open a Buddhist school near Yangon.”
Teriki is a 74-year-old woman with three children. She is proud that all have grown up healthy and have children of their own now. Teriki’s husband passed away many years ago, and she lives with her grandchildren. Teriki’s children farm a small piece of land and take on labor jobs to help provide for their families. Alongside farming maize and vegetables, Teriki also helps on peoples’ farms to support her grandchildren in school and provide basic needs for herself. Teriki was recently in an accident when she had to separate some animals who were fighting on the farm. Now she has swelling and bruises, and her leg is broken. Teriki is experiencing severe pain and must use a wheelchair to move around, which has been challenging for her to do. Fortunately, surgeons at our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare (AMH), can help Teriki heal. On May 18th, Teriki will undergo a fracture repair procedure called an open reduction and internal fixation. Upon recovery, Teriki will be able to walk easily again. AMH is requesting $1,145 to fund her medical treatment. Teriki says, “I really feel sorry right now. I have been depending on myself, yet now I cannot walk by myself. Please help me get back on my feet so that we do not suffer more for my grandchildren.”
Emmanuel is a 7-year-old student who is in class two. His favorite school activity is counting numbers, and he also loves to play football. Emmanuel is the oldest child in his family of three kids, and his father works as a driver to help provide for their needs. Emmanuel has clubfoot in both feet. Clubfoot is a condition in which the foot is twisted out of shape, which causes difficulty walking and even wearing shoes. Currently, Emmanuel is having trouble walking and has pain after a long day. Fortunately, Emmanuel's family was able to travel to the care center at our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare (AMH), for his treatment. On April 22nd, Emmanual will undergo clubfoot repair surgery so that he can walk easily and no longer experience pain. AMH is requesting $935 to fund this procedure. Emmanuel’s mother shared, “Life has become very tough, my husband cannot afford to take him back to the hospital to have his feet correct. Please help.”
Darensky is a 10-year-old student from Haiti. He lives with his mother and grandparents in a neighborhood of Port-au-Prince. He is in the third grade and likes building things and making crafts. Darensky has a cardiac condition called patent ductus arteriosus and tracheal ring. Two holes exists between two major blood vessels near his heart; blood leaks through this hole without first passing through his lungs, leaving him weak and oxygen-deprived. The treatment that Darensky needs is not available in Haiti, so he will fly to United States to undergo surgery. Many years ago he had one hole closed so this is the second surgery he needs, and his family has been waiting for this moment for a long time. Fortunately, on March 10th, Darensky will undergo cardiac surgery, during which surgeons will close the remaining hole that leaks blood between his two main blood vessels at the same time. During the surgery, he will also have a muscular blockage removed from his trachea that affects his ability to breathe. Another organization, Akron Children's Hospital, is contributing $12,000 to help pay for surgery. Darensky's family also needs help to fund the costs of surgery prep. The $1,500 bill covers labs, medicines, and checkup and followup appointments. It also supports passport obtainment and the social workers from our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance, who will accompany Darensky's family overseas. HIs mother told us: "I am very happy to know that after this surgery my son will finally be able to run and play normally!"
Ann is a 33-year-old single mother with two children— a 14-year-old and a one-year-old. She works at building sites whenever she can get small jobs to support her family. She and her children live in a single-room rental home. In July 2021, Ann noticed a small lump on her neck that gradually grew more painful. She sought treatment at a local health facility and was diagnosed with a non-cancerous mass. The mass affects her breathing, along with her ability to eat, sleep, and work. She requires an urgent surgery called a CBT (carotid body tumor) excision. The procedure will help relieve her symptoms and prevent further tumor growth. Fortunately, our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare (AMH), is helping Ann receive treatment. On February 23rd, she will undergo mass excision surgery at AMH's care center. Now, she needs help raising $1,500 to fund her procedure and care. Ann shared, "my kids are my source of joy. They rely on me for everything and this sickness is making it so hard for me to take care of them."
Twel Tar is a two-year-old girl who lives with her parents in northern Thailand. Their family is originally from across the border in Burma, but moved to Thailand for a better job opportunities. Her parents are both factory workers. Twel Tar was recently diagnosed with hydrocephalus, which has caused fluid to build up in her brain. Without immediate surgery to alleviate the intracranial pressure that the excess fluid is causing, she is at risk of developing severe, potentially fatal medical complications. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is requesting $1,500 to fund the insertion of a ventriculoperitoneal shunt for Twel Tar, which will drain the fluid that has accumulated in her brain. The procedure is scheduled to take place on January 30th, and, once completed, will greatly improve Twel Tar's quality of life. “When my daughter recovers from surgery, I want to send her to school like other children. I want her to become an educated woman,” shared Twel Tar’s mother as she hoped for a better future for her daughter.
Arnold is a 40-year-old married man with three children; aged 15, 10, and 3. He is a truck driver and his wife helps take care of their family and home. Since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, his work has decreased. Also, his driving license is currently expired which means that he cannot work as a truck driver until he's able to renew the license. Since last year, Arnold has had a chronic cough. He sought medical care and tested negative for Tuberculosis more than four times; he was frequently put on antibiotics. Late last year, he started noticing a protruding swelling on his neck along with his persistent cough. He again sought medical attention from a health center and was referred to the public hospital. At the hospital, they suspected that he had a goiter and was referred to Partners in Hope (PIH) for thyroid tests since the other facility had no reagents for these tests. At PiH, Arnold was diagnosed with goiter. Doctors recommend that he has his thyroid removed in a procedure called thyroidectomy. A goiter is an abnormal enlargement of the thyroid gland; a butterfly-shaped gland located at the base of the neck. Although goiters are usually painless, a large goiter can cause a cough, irritation and may also cause difficulty in swallowing and breathing. Arnold is afraid that his thyroid might grow bigger if he does not have it removed. It is expected that after surgery, the symptoms will heal and his neck will return to its normal size. Arnold appeals for financial assistance as he is not financially able to pay for the surgery. Arnold says, "My worry is that the goiter might grow bigger. I hope to get treatment before the condition worsens."
Scovian is a quiet 6-year-old student and the firstborn in a family of two. She was brought to our clinic by her grandmother who takes care of her. She shared that Scovian's mother is a hawker in a town near her home while her father left the family because of her birth condition. Scovian has clubfoot of both feet. The condition has seriously affected her mobility. Balancing and maintaining her posture is a challenge. Clubfoot is a condition in which the foot is twisted out of shape. This causes difficulty walking and even wearing shoes. Scovian is stigmatized due to this condition in the village and at school. At school, Scovian is often mocked by other pupils. Due to that, her grandmother escorts her to school every day. Fortunately, Scovian traveled to visit our medical partner's care center, AIC Cure International Hospital. There, surgeons will perform clubfoot repair surgery on November 22nd. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare, is requesting $1,286 to fund Scovian's clubfoot repair. After treatment, her self-esteem will be boosted, she will be able to put on shoes, walk well, and engage with friends. Also, she will be able to continue with her studies well. Scovian's grandmother says, “If the surgery is done and is successful, I will be grateful to God.”
Emma has an entrepreneurial spirit and sells groundnuts, flour, and 'thobwa' (a flavorsome local beverage made from maize and millet) to earn a living. She is married to a primary school teacher and they have four children. All the children are independent except the last born who is in high school. Emma lives with her husband and a grandchild in Lilongwe in a house that belongs to her family. The house has no electricity but has piped water, which Emma is grateful to have. Emma works hard to lead a good life but has no medical insurance as she considers the insurance as being too expensive for her family to afford. Emma developed a goiter many years ago in 1993. This is a swelling on the neck resulting from enlargement of the thyroid gland. The goiter has since been growing in size and causing discomfort. She had been to different traditional healers and health facilities until 2008 when she was referred to KC Hospital for surgical review. The doctor at the hospital told her that the goiter would subside without any intervention if she would avoid getting angry. She was further advised to avoid emotional stress, shouting, and spending time in direct sunlight. However, the nature of her business which she also combines with farming compels her to spend hours in the sun and the swelling has continued growing over time. Emma currently has difficulties in breathing especially when sleeping, has a lot of discomforts, and also difficulty in swallowing food. She is not able to carry her grandchild on her back because it gives her a choking feeling. Her condition has affected her business because she cannot carry large quantities of ‘thobwa’ on her head to go and sell as she used to. Seeing Emma's condition, her relatives have been trying to seek help for her and a cousin recently learned that she might be able to get help at Partners in Hope Medical Center and told Emma about it. She did not hesitate to come and meet the surgeon here who after confirming the diagnosis of goiter recommended a thyroidectomy. This procedure is a surgical removal of the thyroid gland. It is expected that the swelling will go away with the operation and Emma will be able to resume activities that she is unable to do now. The surgery will also improve her appearance and increase her self-esteem. She is scheduled for this procedure on 26th October and is seeking financial assistance since her family is unable to meet the costs. “When people look at me they say, “amayi achotupa pakhosi aja” (woman with a swelling on the neck) and it really affects my self-esteem. I look forward to the removal of this goiter and looking normal again,” shared Emma.
Maung is a 43-year-old father from Burma with two daughters. He used to work as a boatman, ferrying people to and from the island across from where they live; however, he had to stop working two years ago when a stroke weakened the left side of his body. Maung's mother supported the family until she developed severe diabetes and can now only provide them with rice. Maung's daughters are students; however, due to the current wave of COVID-19 infections and teachers protesting the country's recent coup, all schools are closed. As a result, his youngest daughter is looking after household chores, while his oldest daughter has found work to support the family. She works as a shop vendor and earns about 80,000 kyats (approx. $80 USD) per month. Maung's family shared that their current income is insufficient to cover daily needs or basic health care. About a month and a half ago, Maung's left toe became very itchy, and, eventually, the skin turned red and darkened further around his toe. Initially, Maung thought the skin was healing; however, the skin became hot, itchy, and painful. The area on his left toe later turned black, with the surrounding skin reddening. Maung was unable to see a doctor due to his family's limited income. Currently, the pain in his left toe makes it difficult to sleep and get around. Fortunately, in mid-September, Maung's relatives came to visit the family. When they saw Maung's toe, they were able to help him visit our medical partner's care center, Mawlamyine Christian Leprosy Hospital (MCLH). On September 21st, doctors examined Maung's toe and ordered a blood test. He was diagnosed with diabetes and gangrene on his left big toe. Maung will need to undergo surgery to clean and remove the necrotic tissue and help him heal. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is requesting $694 to fund this procedure. Maung shared, "After surgery, I will no longer be in pain ... I will try to find some work to support my family."
James is former motorbike taxi driver from Kenya. He's married and is the father of two children 13 and 6 years old. James' wife is works part-time on a rice farm in their hometown. The family currently lives in a rental house paid for by their local church pastor. In November 2017, James was in a motorbike accident. Due to the accident, he lost his job, and he shared that his life became one revolving around experiencing pain and constant hospital visits. He underwent surgery on his broken leg in a nearby health facility in his hometown. Following the procedure he had a challenging recovery due to infections, causing him sleepless nights and visits to different healthcare facilities. James was finally referred to our medical partner's care center Kijabe Hospital where he underwent several treatments in May. James returned home but later came back to the hospital with a wounded leg that was in bad shape with an exposed bone. The doctors originally admitted James for repair surgery, but determined he needed a below-knee amputation which took place in mid-June. James still experiences a lot of pain, so the surgeon recommend he undergo another round of intense debridement in the amputated area to remove his damaged tissue and help him to finally heal. James has national health insurance, which supported his two major surgeries, but his coverage has been depleted and will not support the care he needs now. Fortunately, our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare, is helping James receive treatment. On June 25th, surgeons will perform a debridement and skin graft procedure to prevent the spread of infection and speed up his recovery. Now, James needs help to fund this $1,185 procedure. James wishes to be free from pain, “I, unfortunately, lost my leg due to a sudden amputation, and I am still in shock. I will never be able to use both legs again. I am still in a lot of pain and the wound needs another procedure for me to be well. I need to get out of the hospital and figure out how to take care of my family with my current condition.”
Evas is a 34-year-old mother of two children who is expecting her third baby soon. Prior to the Covid-19 lockdown that closed schools, Evas worked as a school nurse at Kabale University. Now, she has been farming at home to provide food for her family. Her husband works as a taxi driver, but his business has also been affected by the lockdown. Evas received the full antenatal care package at our medical partner's care center, Nyakibale Hospital. The doctor advised her to deliver by cesarean section due to the status of her previous deliveries. This procedure will allow for a better delivery outcome and prevent the possible complications of uterine rupture. Evas is a returning Watsi patient, after undergoing a thyroid procedure in 2020 to help her breathe, work, and live more comfortably. Now, our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare (AMH), is requesting $252 to help fund another very important surgery for Evas so her baby can be born safely. Evas says, “I am really grateful for the help I was given for my previous operation. I am requesting your financial support again in order to make my surgery possible as the lockdown has left us helpless in every aspect.”