Donatello BiancoMONTHLY DONOR
Donatello's Story

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.

Impact

Donatello has funded healthcare for 22 patients in 9 countries.

All patients funded by Donatello

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.”

46%funded
$699raised
$801to go

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!"

74%funded
$1,112raised
$388to go

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."

$1,015raised
Fully funded

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.

$1,015raised
Fully funded

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."

$694raised
Fully funded

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.”

$1,185raised
Fully funded