UNIVERSAL FUND MEMBERDirector of Engineering
Works at Nearpod
Mark joined Watsi on September 20th, 2016. Six years ago, Mark joined our Universal Fund, supporting life-changing treatments for a new Watsi patient every month. Mark's most recent donation traveled 1,900 miles to support Douby, a hardworking 17 year old student from Haiti, to fund life-saving heart surgery and chase after his big dreams.
Mark has funded healthcare for 83 patients in 11 countries.
Mark has funded healthcare for 83 patients in 11 countries.
Douby is a 17 year old student, living with his Godmother and her family in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Douby enjoys going to school, and aspires to attain a PhD in agronomy, and to become a professor. As a result of rheumatic fever that he suffered as a child, Douby has a cardiac condition called rheumatic mitral and tricuspid regurgitation. Two of his four heart valves were severely damaged by the rheumatic fever, and his heart cannot adequately pump blood through his body, leaving him sick and short of breath. The care Douby needs is not available in Haiti so he urgently will fly to the United States to receive treatment on February 28th at Baylor Scott & White Heart Hospital. He will undergo emergency cardiac surgery, during which surgeons will attempt to repair both damaged valves; if the valves cannot be repaired, they will be removed, and artificial valves will be implanted in their place. While another organization, Baylor Scott and White Heart Hospital, is contributing $20,000.00 to help pay for Douby's surgery, our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance, is seeking $1,500 to cover the costs for the surgery prep and transport support, including lab tests; medicines, and follow up appointments. The money will alsosupport the passport and travel expenses for the social workers that will accompany Douby and his family to the U.S. Douby was able to share: "I am looking forward to being stronger and healthier once my heart can be repaired!"
Pendo is a 2-week-old baby girl from Tanzania. Pendo is part of a large family of one father, two mothers, and 19 children. Pendo's mother joyfully welcomed her ninth child. Pendo and her family are from western Tanzania and farm rice, maize, and ground nuts on a small scale. The family consumes the harvest and sells some of the surplus to pay some home bills. It is a challenge financially to provide for a large family with small-scale farming. Pendo has clubfoot on her left foot. Clubfoot is a condition where the foot is twisted out of shape. This causes difficulty walking and wearing shoes. Fortunately, Pendo's mother traveled to visit our medical partner's care center, Arusha Lutheran Medical Centre, where surgeons will perform clubfoot repair surgery on February 14th. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $935 to fund Pendo's clubfoot repair. After treatment, she will be able to walk easily. Pendo’s mother says, “I wish my daughter gets better like her older sibling[s] and grows up to have a good life ahead.”
Chit Htun is a 21-year-old man from Burma who lives with his mother, two sisters and a brother. His mother is a homemaker, while Chit Htun and his siblings are students. They are supported financially by two aunties and Chit Htun's former teacher. Chit Htun was born with spina bifida as well as hydrocephalus. When Chit Htun was just over a month old, he had a shunt inserted in his brain to control hydrocephalus. In October 202, Chit Htun fell down the stairs in his home and hit his head during the fall. Since that time, he has been experiencing headaches and dizziness with occasional loss of consciousness. Chit Htun's mother brought him to a hospital in Yangon, where he received a CT scans showing that the original shunt was in place. A second shunt was inserted to help with the loss of consciousness, but the headaches and dizziness continued to be a problem. In October 2022, Chit Htun had a seizure, accompanied by nausea and vomiting. Chit Htun's mother brought him to Mae Sot Hospital, where he received a CT scan on November 28th, 2022 with the help of Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF). The doctor diagnosed Chit Htun with severe chronic hydrocephalus and suspected shunt malfunction. BCMF is now fundraising $1,500 to help cover the cost of surgery to replace Chit Htun's current shunt. Chit Htun's mother shared, "My son and I have been in Mae Sot for the past two months and we are homesick already. I hope that he will receive surgery soon and recover from his symptoms."
William is a small-scale farmer from Kenya. He is a married man with twelve children. Some of his oldest children are married while others are still in school. William and his family live in a semi-permanent house. He has been a long-term potato farmer who has been growing them mainly for sale. His family has worked on their farm and it has contributed a lot to their income. Through the limited income William makes, he has been able to provide for his children's basic needs. William has medical insurance that he has been using throughout all his visits for inpatient and outpatient services for his medical procedures. In May 2019, when William was walking along the road, he was hit by a motorbike and he fell down, thus injuring his lower limb. Immediately, he was taken to a facility where he was admitted and surgery was done. All was well up to last year when he started feeling unwell and decided to visit our partner's hospital. He presented with a lot of pain, he had a wound that was discharging pus, and his affected limb was swollen. An x-ray was recommended and it found that he had a non-union on his fractured bone and he had to be admitted for hardware removal, as it was already infected. He went to the operating theater for infected hardware removal and antibiotic nailing was done in order to treat his infection. Since the nail was not stable, a patella tendon-bearing cast was applied in order to immobilize his non-united fracture. He has been in and out of the hospital for frequent check-ups, change of dressing, and casts. The wound has not improved and at some time after the antibiotic nailing, he went to the operating room for debridement and vacuum-assisted closure of the wound to help in healing and daily dressing change has been done in a health facility near his home. He also suffered eye problems in between and can barely see at the moment. On Monday when he came for review, his wound was not well and had a foul smell. His hardware needs to be removed, the non-union has to be taken down and a procedure will be done for stability. He was prepared for admission, but then it was realized that he had exhausted his inpatient insurance limit. In order to save his leg, it is vital to perform the surgery immediately. William has no alternative way of paying for his procedure, which is very complex. Fortunately, surgeons at our medical partner can help. On December 7th, William will undergo a fracture repair procedure that will help William to be able to walk normally and continue with farming to provide for his family. Now, our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $679 to fund this medical care. William says, "Spending most of the time in the hospital has been quite challenging. I cannot work or supervise my work as I did before because of my fractured limb. I am really looking forward to getting better in order to stabilize my family again. Please help me."
Milka is a 48-year-old woman. She is the mother of three children, between 6 and 26 years. She works harvesting tea at a tea plantation, while her husband gets jobs working at construction sites. Their income is not enough to pay for life-saving surgery, and they do not have medical coverage. Milka woke up one morning at the beginning of February this past year and discovered a lump in her right breast. It was painless at first, but later became painful. She went to a clinic in her local area, but was referred to a bigger facility that offers cancer care. She came to Kijabe Hospital this month where she had an ultrasound, mammogram, and a core biopsy that revealed cancer. Milka has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Without treatment, the cancer may spread to other organs. Doctors recommend a mastectomy, a surgery to remove breast tissue, to rid her body of breast cancer and to prevent the cancer from metastasizing, or spreading. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $1110 to cover the cost of a mastectomy for Milka. The procedure is scheduled to take place on November 8th. After treatment, Milka will hopefully return to a cancer-free life. Milka says, "I might be scared that I am losing my breast, but I know it is important to stop the cancer.”
Agnes is a college student and is in her final year pursuing an architectural course. She lives with her parents and is the second born in a family of three children, all of whom are in school and rely on their parents for school fees and upkeep. Her father is a carpenter in their hometown, Kimende, and his income is inconsistent and not enough to cover the cost of the required surgery. Her mother is a small-scale farmer. Agnes was heading home in the evening last night when she remembers hearing screams and was hit by an unknown motorist from behind. She has no recollection of what happened after that. She lost consciousness and could not recognize her surroundings. She was brought to our medical partner's care center Kijabe Hospital and had an x-ray that revealed a left distal femur fracture. Doctors have recommended an urgent fracture repair surgery since the wound is open and she is in extreme pain. Today, she has regained her consciousness but cannot sit or walk due to the fracture. Fortunately, surgeons at our medical partner are here to help. On October 14th, Agnes will undergo a fracture repair procedure, called an open reduction and internal fixation. This procedure will help get rid of the pain and she will eventually be able to sit and walk easily again. Now, our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare, is requesting $1,500 to fund this procedure. Agnes says, “I am in so much pain and I cannot walk. I don’t remember what happened, I just found myself bedridden with lights all over. I am unable to go back home because of the fracture.”
Primer is a father of three from Haiti. He lives in a small village in southwestern Haiti with his wife and three children; he is a farmer and sells produce in the local market. Primer has a cardiac condition called rheumatic mitral regurgitation. One of the four valves of his heart is severely damaged as the result of a rheumatic infection he suffered a number of years ago, and cannot adequately pump blood through his heart and body. The surgery that Primer needs is not available anywhere in the country so he will fly to Dominican Republic to receive treatment. On September 13th, he will undergo cardiac surgery, during which surgeons will remove the damaged valve and implant an artificial replacement. Haiti Cardiac Alliance is contributing $9000 to pay for surgery. Primer'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 covers travel expenses for the social workers from our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance, who will accompany Primer's family overseas, as well as the cost of obtaining Prince's passport. Prince says: "I am very grateful to be having this surgery so I can take care of my family and see my children grow up."
Naw Ywa is a 29-year-old woman who lives with her husband, sister-in-law, and three nieces in a refugee camp in Thailand. Naw Ywa is a homemaker, and she weaves and sells traditional Karen clothing in her spare time. Her husband also works as a homemaker and cares for his sister, who has a mobility impairment. Naw Ywa's three nieces all currently attend school in the refugee camp. This past March, Naw Ywa began to experience severe pain in her left pelvic area. This pain was accompanied by fatigue, dizziness, and trouble breathing. Although she did seek medical attention at the hospital in the refugee camp, she was only given painkillers, which temporarily alleviated her symptoms. After a few months of repeatedly being readmitted to the hospital without fully treating her condition, a doctor referred Naw Ywa to our medical partner's care center, Mae Sariang Hospital (MSH). On July 6th, she was brought to MSH and received an ultrasound. Her doctor diagnosed her with adenomyosis, a condition that occurs when the tissue that typically lines the uterus grows into the muscular wall of the uterus. She was also diagnosed with a five cm large myoma, which is a tumor that develops in or around the uterus. Her doctor has advised that she undergo a hysterectomy to remove her uterus and alleviate her symptoms. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is requesting $1,500 to fund Naw Ywa’s total abdominal hysterectomy. The procedure is scheduled to take place on August 17th. Once completed, she will hopefully be able to live more comfortably and confidently. Naw Ywa shares, “Me and my husband want to have children, but we agreed with the doctor’s plan. I do not want to experience this pain anymore, and my husband also does not want to see me in pain.”
Yeang is a 40-year-old tailor with one daughter and two sons. When she is not working as a tailor, she is busy at home doing laundry, cleaning, and sleeping. Six months ago, Yeang had an ear infection. This infection caused the tympanic membrane, or the ear drum, in both ears to perforate. For this reason, she experiences ear pain, discharge, and hearing difficulties. All of this makes it hard for her to communicate with others and focus at work. Fortunately, Yeang traveled to our medical partner's care center to receive treatment. On July 7th, she will undergo a myringoplasty procedure in both ears. During this procedure, surgeons will close the perforations. Our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre, is requesting $914 to fund this procedure. This covers supplies, treatment, and inpatient care. Yeang says, "I am hopeful my hearing will improve, the pain will stop, and I can sleep well again after this surgery."
Jane is a loving mother from the Philippines. She has an adorable 8-month-old baby boy. Jane works as as a municipal administrative aide, while her husband works as a contractual college teacher. However, even with their combined salaries, they still cannot afford to cover her medical treatment. In 2019, Jane began to experience troubling symptoms, including a painful, palpable mass on her neck. She was diagnosed with a nodular goiter, which is a solid or fluid-filled lump that forms within the thyroid. However, due to financial constraints, she opted to take the doctor’s prescribed medicine to alleviate the symptoms instead of having the surgery she needs. Fortunately, our medical partner, World Surgical Foundation Philippines, is helping Jane finally undergo treatment. She is scheduled for a thyroidectomy on May 3rd at Our Lady of Peace Hospital. Surgeons will remove all or part of her thyroid gland. This procedure will cost $1323, and she and her family need help raising money for this life-changing care. “Once this surgery is done, I won’t have to endure this pain. Thank you World Surgical Foundation Philippines and Watsi for this opportunity to be treated. Now, we don't have to worry about where to get the money for my treatment,” Jane shared with relief.
Denis is a charming and friendly three-year-old boy. Denis's mother is a single mom, and she has a small business selling fruits and vegetables to support her family. Denis has a twin brother, along with another sibling. Denis has been diagnosed with bilateral genu valgus, a condition in which the knees angle inward and touch one another when his legs are straightened. This is typically caused by an excessive accumulation of fluoride in the bones, which often stems from contaminated drinking water. As a result, Denis's gait is affected. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare (AMH), is helping Denis receive treatment. On April 8th, he will undergo corrective surgery at AMH's care center. Treatment will hopefully restore Denis's mobility, allowing him to participate in a variety of activities and greatly decreasing his risk of future complications. Now, his family needs help raising $880 to fund his procedure and care. Denis’s mother shared, "now that my son’s insurance is not covering the surgery, I won’t have any means to raise the money. Please assist me."
Alex is a student and is a very ambitious and active teenager from Kiambu, Kenya. He is the only child of a single mother, who is a hawker of different items. He is in high school and his mother shared that he has a passion for football and running. After schools were closed in March, Alex decided to go and visit his aunt who lives near Nazareth Hospital. Being playful as he is, he took a bicycle from his aunts’ house and decided to have a ride on last Saturday. Unfortunately, while riding, he tried to avoid a collision and he fell. He sustained an injury to his left hand. Now Alex is in pain, unable to use his hand. Fortunately, surgeons at our medical partner can help. On April 12th, Alex will undergo a fracture repair procedure, called an open reduction and internal fixation. Alex's fracture will heal, he will be able to use his hand and also resume school. Now, our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $1,049 to fund this procedure. “I am feeling for my son, and hope he could receive the sponsorship so that he can be well before the school opens,” said Alex’s mother.