Donatello joined Watsi on November 5th, 2015. Twelve months 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 Maung, a father from Burma, to fund surgery for a severe infection on his foot.
Donatello has funded healthcare for 13 patients in 7 countries.
Donatello has funded healthcare for 13 patients in 7 countries.
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 breath, 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.”
Bright is a young boy from Kenya who is very shy when it comes to interacting with strangers. Bright is the younger brother in a family of two children. His mother is a homemaker while his father is a welder in a local warehouse, so they earn limited income and have been renting their home in Uthiru. About one year ago, Bright is diagnosed with a left inguinal hernia, which causes him to experience weakness and pain. Fortunately, on June 17th, he will undergo repair surgery at our medical partner's care center. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation (AMH), is requesting $444 to fund Bright's surgery so he can be rid of the discomfort. Bright’s mother says, “We have tried everything we could for our son to get treated but none has been successful. When we almost gave up, we decided to give it the last try and it has paid off but we have no money to cater for Bright’s surgery.”
Israel is a one-year-old baby from Colombia who loves animals. His mother came to Colombia from Venezuela to seek better opportunities, where she fell in love with a Colombian man who became Israel's father. Israel loves to play with cars and his dog. Even though he doesn't speak a lot yet, he is constantly looking for a phone to call his grandmother. Israel was born with polydactyly of both feet. This means that he has an extra toe on each foot, which prevents him from wearing shoes and walking normally. On August 17th, surgeons from our medical partner will perform a polydactyly repair procedure to remove the extra digits. Our medical partner, Clínica Noel, is requesting $799 to fund this procedure. After surgery, Israel will be able to start wearing shoes and learn to walk and run. His mother offered advice for other mothers in a similar situation to stay hopeful: “The only thing that worried me was to know if he was going to be able to walk normally and wear shoes. I would tell a mother whose son was just diagnosed with polydactyly to just calm down and let the doctors help her, fortunately, this is not a complex pathology and the treatment already exists.”
Saray is a 16-year-old student who with his mother and his five older siblings. His father passed away a few years ago. His mother and older brothers work as farmers. When he is not at school, Saray likes to help with household chores or go for walks with one of his brothers. About five years ago, Saray had an ear infection. This infection caused a cholesteatoma, or an abnormal skin growth, to develop in the middle ear behind the ear drum. For this reason, Saray experiences pain, hearing loss, tinnitus and ear discharge. It is difficult for Saray to hear his family members, listen to the teacher at school, and in the past few months he has had to take time away from school. Saray traveled to our medical partner's care center to receive treatment. On May 25th, he will undergo a mastoidectomy procedure in his right ear ear. During this procedure, ENT surgeons will remove the cholesteatoma. Our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre, is requesting $925 to fund this procedure. This covers medications, supplies, and inpatient care. Saray said, "I hope that this ear pain will be gone after surgery. I want to hear well at school and also listen to music on the radio when I am at home."
Melvin is a 3-year-old boy and the third and last born child in his family. His father is a security guard at local gas station and makes a humble income. To supplement his earnings, Melvin’s mother does laundry and farming for their neighbors. Occasionally, she's able to sell some farm produce she gets from their small farm. When Melvin was born, he was not able to breastfeed. After some referrals and unsuccessful treatments, Melvin went to the national hospital and was diagnosed with Hirschprung disease, a birth condition affecting his digestive system. He had several surgeries to correct the condition, which were fortunately covered by his family's National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) coverage at the time. One of the surgeries Melvin underwent was a colostomy, in which the end of the colon is brought through an opening in the abdominal wall. This surgery is often performed to bypass bowel malformations, but colostomies are usually temporary and may call for closure. In Melvin's case, his colostomy requires closure in order to restore bowel function and prevent future complications. However, to undergo the colostomy closure at the national hospital, he and his mother had to take COVID-19 tests, which were too expensive for their family. Fortunately, a family friend referred them next to our Medical Partner's Care Center BethanyKids Hospital, where doctors conducted tests and scheduled Melvin for the colostomy closure. Melvin's family normally has NHIF coverage, but they have depleted their yearly surgical allocation so this procedure is not supported. Melvin’s parents appeal for financial support for their son. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $650 to cover the cost of a colostomy closure for Melvin. The surgery is scheduled to take place on April 27th and, once completed, will hopefully allow him to live more comfortably and confidently. Melvin’s mother shared, “We have been through a lot with Melvin and stopping now is not an option for us. We would like Melvin to live a healthy life just as our other children but our financial state has been a big hindrance for us.”
Victor is a student and the oldest of six in his family who live together in a grass thatched house. His parents are farmers in the village, and they grow maize and beans for their family’s upkeep. Victor was born with a complete absence of fingers on his left hand, which has forced him to learn how to do all tasks with his right hand including cooking and laundry. On March 11th, 2021, eighteen-year-old Victor was injured in a motorcycle road traffic accident. He was a passenger when the motorcycle slid on mud and fell. He sustained an injury on his lower leg, and his leg was placed in a cast shortly after the accident. A few weeks later, his condition worsened and his wounds started having signs of infection. His parents brought him to the hospital, where doctors conducted an X-ray which revealed a left tibia-fibula fracture. Victor is in pain and unable to walk. Fortunately, surgeons at our medical partner can help. On March 25th, Victor will undergo a fracture repair procedure, called an open reduction and internal fixation. After healing, Victor will be able to walk again and engage in his normal activities. Now, our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare, is requesting $1,014 to fund this procedure and his family has been able to contribute $100. Victor is a diligent student, and he scheduled his surgery to begin after he sits for his final exams. He says, “I would have wished to undergo the surgery as soon as possible but I am sitting for my exams this coming week. My prayer is that I won’t be in so much pain so that I can sit for my exams comfortably.” Victor’s mother is appealing to anyone reading his son's story to help her raise money for a successful surgery.
Lai is a 59-year-old with six children and four grandchildren. She is widowed and lives with a daughter and helps her with the children. One month ago, Lai slipped and fell in the bathroom. She is not able to walk and experiences constant and severe pain in her left hip due to a femoral neck fracture. Fortunately, Lai learned about our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre (CSC). At CSC, surgeons will perform a total hip replacement to relieve Lai of her pain and allow her to walk easily. Treatment is scheduled for February 17th, and Lai needs help raising $1,087 to pay for the procedure. Lai shared that she really wants to walk again and be free of the terrible pain she's feeling.
Rebecca is a 1-year-old girl from Tanzania. She is the last born in a family of two children and has started to grow into a strong and beautiful girl. Both of her parents depend on small scale farming to support their family. Rebecca was initially brought to the hospital by her parents seeking treatment to help correct her spina bifida condition. Spina bifida is a birth defect that occurs when the spine and spinal cord fail to form properly. This puts a child in danger of limb paralyses or death in case of a severe infection. At the time, Rebecca's parents could not afford the proposed surgery. Luckily, one of their friends advised them to seek help at our medical partner's care center, ALMC Plaster House. Through Watsi funding, Rebecca’s life was saved and she has been growing well since then. However, a few weeks ago, Rebecca's mother noticed her daughter's head was increasing in size at a very fast rate and she was complaining of headaches. Her parents had worked hard to save some money and got a health insurance card for their baby, so they decided to take her to the hospital to seek treatment. There, Rebecca was diagnosed with hydrocephalus, a condition in which excess cerebrospinal fluid accumulates in the brain and increases intracranial pressure. She needs to have an ETV surgery that will help relieve her of the pressure build-up, which would otherwise lead to brain damage. Unfortunately, their insurance has not matured enough to cover this kind of major surgery, so Rebecca's parents are appealing for financial support to help her. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $1,300 to cover the cost of surgery for Rebecca that will treat her hydrocephalus. The procedure is scheduled to take place on January 25th and will drain the excess fluid from Rebecca's brain. This will reduce intracranial pressure and greatly improve her quality of life. With proper treatment, Rebecca will hopefully develop into a strong, healthy young girl. Rebecca’s mother shared, “My daughter’s head is increasing in size and it is making her sick. She needs surgery but the insurance we got for her cannot cover the cost. Please help once more if it is possible because we don’t know where to run to for help besides all of you.”
Meakea is a 20-year-old construction worker with one brother and one sister. Meakea is the middle child in his family. His brother is also a construction worker and his sister works in a factory. Their parents are farmers. In his free time Meakea enjoys listening to music, playing games on his phone, meeting up with friends, and playing football. On December 4th, Meakea was electrocuted at work and sustained electric burns on his hands and feet. After the accident he went to a provincial hospital for 10 days for treatment. He still has bad wounds on his hands and feet. It is difficult for him to use his hands and he is in pain. When Meakea learned about our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre, he traveled for two hours seeking treatment. On December 23rd, surgeons at CSC will perform a debridement procedure to help him recover on both hands and both feet. Now, he needs help to fund this $787 procedure. Meakea said, "I hope after my surgery my hands and feet are stronger and healed so I can be finally free of pain."
Mary is a 46-year-old woman from Kenya. She is a housewife and a farmer, and is a mother of four children. Despite having lost sight in her left eye, Mary has been taking care of her children and her family's small piece of land. Her husband works as a street vendor to support the family's financial needs. On November 23rd, Mary slipped and fell, bending her left knee directly onto a stone. An X-ray confirmed that she sustained a closed fracture of her patella. This injury makes it difficult for her to walk, and she is in chronic pain. Fortunately, Mary's husband was able to bring her to the hospital and now surgeons at our medical partner can help. On November 26th, Mary will undergo a fracture repair procedure, called an open reduction and internal fixation. This procedure will help her walk easily again. Now, our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $1,049 to fund this procedure. Mary's husband shared while holding back tears, "Without support, my wife will never walk again and it will be hard for her take care of our children. Please help her so that at least she can walk again and continue supporting our family.”