Charles joined Watsi on September 9th, 2014. Eight years ago, Charles joined our Universal Fund, supporting life-changing treatments for a new Watsi patient every month. Charles' most recent donation traveled 1,900 miles to support Vania, a studious 14-year-old girl from Haiti, to fund heart surgery so she can finally return to school.
Charles has funded healthcare for 93 patients in 13 countries.
Charles has funded healthcare for 93 patients in 13 countries.
Vania is a hardworking 14-year-old student from Haiti. She lives in an urban area of the island nation's capital, Port-au-Prince, with her parents and three younger brothers. She enjoys studying, especially science and literature. Unfortunately, Vania has not been able to attend school for two years because of her heart condition. She suffered from rheumatic fever early in her childhood. The illness damaged one of the four valves in her heart, leaving her with a condition called rheumatic mitral regurgitation. Her heart cannot pump blood adequately through her body, which leaves her weak and short of breath. The good news is that surgery can help. Vania will fly to the Cayman Islands to receive treatment. On May 16th, surgeons will remove her damaged valve and implant an artificial valve in its place. Another organization, Have a Heart Cayman, is contributing $17,000 to pay for the procedure. But Vania's family also needs help to fund other medical and travel costs, which is where our Watsi donors come in. They are raising $1,500 to cover lab work and medicine for Vania, along with checkup and followup appointments. It also will help pay for her to get a passport and support social workers from our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance, who will accompany Vania and her family overseas. Vania says, "I am looking forward to this surgery so that I can feel more normal and go back to school."
Myo Htay is a 22-year-old who lives with his parents and younger brother in the border region of Burma. His parents work as day laborers at a gold mine, carrying dirt and debris. Myo used to work with his parents but stopped last November when his health deteriorated. Because the gold mine closes during the rainy season, his parents only have work for six months out of the year. The rest of the time they try to live off of their savings. Around six months ago, Myo started to feel tired when he worked. At first he thought he was tired from working too hard. When he continued to feel tired for over a month, he thought that he needed to see a doctor. However, because of their limited funds, he did not want his parents to spend what they had on a trip to a clinic or a hospital. Around the middle of April, his condition worsened. He had difficulty breathing, experienced chest pain, and also heart palpitations. His parents brought him to a nearby hospital where he was diagnosed with a heart disease. The doctor told them to bring him to Yangon for further treatment. After Myo's parents borrowed money, they went to Yangon and took him to two different hospitals. At the last hospital, Myo was admitted for five days as he was unwell at that time. He received a follow-up appointment for two weeks later, but was brought back on April 30th when he developed rapid breathing, heart palpitations, chest pain and oedema (swelling) in both his legs. Myo was readmitted to the hospital, and the doctor told Myo's parents that his surgery would cost 20,000,000 kyat (approx. $11,000 USD). When they told the doctor that they cannot afford to pay for his surgery, a nurse gave them the phone number of an abbot in Yangon. After they called the abbot and told him what the doctor had said, the abbot referred Myo to our medical parter Burma Children Medical Fund for the assistance accessing the cardiac treatment he needs. Currently, Myo is on oxygen. If he does not receive oxygen, he has difficulty breathing as well as heart palpitations. He cannot walk for more than three minutes and if he does, he feels extremely tired. His whole family is worried about his condition. Fortunately, Myo's surgery has been scheduled for May 8th. He will have both valves of his heart replaced. His family needs $1,500 to help with the total cost of his surgery and care. Myo’s mother said, “I would give up everything to save my son’s life. I would sleep on the ground if we had no home to live in. I only wish to see my son getting better.”
Mab is a 34-year-old electrician. He has two children, with his oldest son is seven years old and his newborn daughter at two months old. In Mab's free time, he enjoys playing volleyball with his friends. Last December, Mab was in a motorcycle accident that caused a brachial plexus injury on his left side. The brachial plexus is the nerve network that transmits signals from the spine to the shoulder, arm, and hand. Injuries to this nerve network can result in a loss of function and sensation. After the accident, Mab's family took him to a local hospital for treatment; however, his left arm is still immobile, and he has shoulder pain. The doctors referred him to our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre (CSC), for review, where they determined his shoulder is partially dislocated, and he has no elbow or wrist flexion. CSC is the only treatment center in the country that can help Mab receive the treatment he needs. On April 5th, he will undergo brachial plexus repair surgery that will allow him to use his hand again. CSC is requesting $696 for the cost of this surgery. Mab was able to gather $100 to contribute to his care, as well. Mab says, "I hope my arm will regain strength, and I can return to work."
Liam is a playful four-year-old boy and the only child in his family. Liam and his young, single mother both live with Liam's grandmother, and depend on her farm for food. Liam was born with a condition known as quad cop, which is a subset of cerebral palsy that affects all four of his limbs (both arms/hands and legs). In addition, Liam has clubfoot on both of his feet. Clubfoot is a congenital musculoskeletal condition in which the foot is twisted out of shape. This causes him to have a great deal of difficulty walking and wearing shoes. Fortunately, on March 15th, Liam will undergo clubfoot repair surgery at our medical partner's care center, AIC Cure International Hospital. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare, is requesting $1,286 to fund Liam's treatment. After treatment, Liam will be able to place his entire foot on the ground when he walks, compared to now where he can only walk on his tiptoes which makes it hard for him to get around freely and independently. In the future his mother hopes he will be able to run, play, and join school like other children. Liam's mother says, "We would like to request support because we have nothing in our pockets to facilitate the surgery he needs."
Julius is a 44-year-old man with two children. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Julius used to buy old clothes to sell, but the business was so greatly affected by the pandemic that he has had to search for other work to survive. He now takes on labor jobs at construction sites. Julius was in a hit-and-run accident where a driver lost control of the vehicle and hit him while walking along the side path. Julius was thrown over the car and sustained an open fracture on his left leg. As a result, he is experiencing pain and is at risk of developing an infection or malunion, which occurs when a fractured bone heals in an abnormal position. Fortunately, surgeons at our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare (AMH), can help Julius heal. On February 7th, he will undergo a fracture repair procedure known as an open reduction and internal fixation. After surgery, Julius will no longer be in pain, and he will be able to walk and work again. AMH is requesting $1,049 to fund this procedure. Julius shared, “I depend on my legs because, for construction work, you have to climb. However, I thank God I am alive. I kindly request help so that my leg can get well. I can then go back to my hustles and sustain myself."
Dom is a 43-year-old woman who married with three daughters and one grandchild. Dom used to be a pottery maker but has been unable to work due to the pain she is experiencing. Dom makes pottery in her province of Cambodai, called Kampong Chhnang, which is known for its beautiful ceramics that are sold all over the country. Dom has been experiencing acute pain in her right hip for several weeks. The cause is unknown but, as a result of the pain, she is unable to walk and must use a wheelchair. Dom shared that she feels unwell, cannot sleep, and has lost her appetite. She visited her local hospital, where doctors diagnosed her condition as a fracture of the femoral neck and referred her to our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre (CSC), for treatment. Fortunately, on January 5th, surgeons as CSC will perform a total hip replacement to relieve Dom of her pain and allow her to walk easily. CSC is requesting $1,087 to pay for Dom's procedure. Dom shared, "I hope the doctors will discover why I cannot walk and fix it. I want to be able to walk again, have no pain, and take care of my family."
Poe is a 45-year-old man who lives with his wife in a hut in a village in Myawaddy Township in Burma. Poe and his wife are agricultural day labourers, but he had to stop working two to three months ago, when his condition worsened. The income she earns is usually just enough to cover their daily expenses, but if she cannot find work, they have to borrow money to make ends meet. Around seven years ago, Poe got bamboo splinters in his left foot while working on a farm. He was able to pick out the splinters and applied traditional medicine to his foot, which healed. A little while later, he developed pain where he had the splinters before and went to a nearby clinic. A nurse checked his foot but told him that she could not find anything wrong with his foot. The nurse gave him pain medication and Poe went back home. After he took the medication, he felt better. Six or seven months later, his pain returned, and he also developed an infection. When he went back to the clinic, the nurse checked his foot and told him to go to a hospital since he signs of a severe infection. The nurse also gave him medication. He then went to Myawaddy General Hospital, where he had the ulcer cleaned with an antiseptic solution and was given medication. When he went home, he felt better. Two years ago, the pain and ulcer returned but in a larger area then previously. He went back to Myawaddy General Hospital, where he received an x-ray. He was told that his foot was infected due to his previous injury. His foot was cleaned again with an antiseptic solution, and he was given antibiotics. After he took the medication, he felt better again. Just a few months ago, Poe’s foot started to hurt again. However, he was not worried about his foot because the last time his foot had hurt, he had had the ulcers drained. When the pain and swelling increased in his foot, he was no longer able to work. Although he wanted to go to the hospital, he did not have enough money to go this time since he was not working. His brother then told him to go to Mawlamyine Christian Leprosy Hospital (MCLH) in nearby Mon State since it is more affordable. When Poe arrived at MCLH at the end of November, he was admitted after the doctor examined his foot. He received another x-ray and was told that the ulcers and an infection had spread to multiple areas. He was also told that because of how advanced his condition is, his foot could never heal fully, and the only option at this point was to amputate his foot. “I’ve been to many hospitals and clinics already,” said Poe. “The doctor told me that if I amputate my foot my condition will no longer return. So I am happy to go ahead with the procedure.” Currently, Poe’s left ankle and feet is swollen and painful. The pain is worse at night and when the temperature drops. He has multiple ulcers in his foot with discharge and he feels extremely uncomfortable. Some areas of his foot are itchy and painful while he has lost sensation in the top of his foot and areas around his ankle. Cannot put any weight on his left foot due to the pain and has to be pushed in a wheelchair since he arrived at MCLH. He's hopeful about feeling better soon and getting back to working. Poe shared, “In the future I want to buy one or two cows to breed and rear them to earn an income. I also want to grow and sell vegetables."
Jhonatan Mercado is a creative four-year-old from Venezuela. A year ago his family moved to Medellin in Colombia seeking for a better future for their kids. Jhonatan is an older brother in a family of two children, his little brother is one year old. Jhonatan he loves to play with his mom with Legos. He already loves soccer too. Jhonatan Mercado has clubfoot of both feet. Clubfoot is a condition in which the foot is twisted out of shape. This causes difficulty walking and even wearing shoes. Fortunately, Jhonatan Mercado's family traveled to visit our Medical Partner Clínica Noel. There, surgeons will perform clubfoot repair surgery on December 20th. Our medical partner, Clínica Noel, is requesting $1500 to fund Jhonatan Mercado's bilateral clubfoot repair. After treatment, he will be able to walk without pain or further complications. His mother said "We are really glad that finally we found help, we have been in different treatments since he was 6 months old but now we have a lot of faith in this procedure and in Doctor Miguel."
Soy is a 66-year-old rice farmer. She and her husband have three sons, six daughters, and many grandchildren. They live with their oldest daughter who is also a farmer. Due to her age and poor vision, she no longer works in the rice field. At home, she likes to listen to the monks pray on the radio. Two years ago, Soy developed a cataract in her right eye causing her sensitivity to light and blurry vision. She has difficulty seeing things clearly, recognizing faces, and going anywhere outside. When Soy learned about our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre, she traveled for two and a half hours seeking treatment. On September 15th, doctors will perform phacoemulsification cataract surgery and an intraocular lens implant in her right eye. After recovery, she will be able to see clearly. Now, she needs help to fund this $229 procedure. Soy shared, "after surgery I hope my eye can see clearly again. I want to go to the rice field to help my husband. And I want to plant vegetables around my house for sale to earn money to support my family."
Ivan is a three-year-old boy and the only child of his single mother, though his father has three other children with his wife. Ivan and his mother live at his grandparent’s home. Ivan’s grandparents are small scale farmers growing mainly maize, vegetables, and green bananas. Ivan’s mother helps her parents in farming to be able to also provide and care for her son. Ivan was born with a congenital deformity of his toes where they are webbed together. This year, it has been hard for Ivan to play and do all the things his friends like to do. Fortunately, our medical partner African Mission Healthcare Foundation is helping Ivan receive treatment. On September 2nd, surgeons at their care center will perform a surgery so he will no longer be in pain. Now, his family needs help to fund this $639 procedure. Ivan’s mother says,"I am not able to afford my son’s treatment cost please help him have his toes corrected. He is complaining of pain more as days go by.”
Robert is a 37-year-old matatu taxi driver with two children. Recently, Robert was involved in a traffic accident where he sustained multiple fractures in his legs. He has difficulty walking and can no longer work as a driver. Fortunately, with the support of Watsi donors he was able to have his first surgery and now surgeons at our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare (AMH), are able to help with his final repair. On August 5th, Robert will undergo a second fracture repair procedure, called an open reduction and internal fixation. This procedure will allow Robert to walk with more ease. AMH is requesting $1,500 to fund this procedure. "I am hopeful I will be able to walk again. I am halfway there. I know with this surgery, I will be able to use my legs and get back to working again,” shared Robert.
Nurat is a three-week old baby from Tanzania. She is the first child of her young parents at a local hospital in Manyara. Nurat’s mother still lives at her parents’ home while her father lives at a rented house. Before Nurat's birth, her mother sold flowers and cooking pots to earn a living and her father has a small kiosk selling domestic items such as sugar, salt, bread. Nurat was born with spina bifida that puts her at risk of lower-limb paralysis, infection, and possible developmental delays. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $1,015 to cover the cost of Nurat's spina bifida closure surgery. The procedure is scheduled to take place on June 23rd. This procedure will hopefully spare Nurat from the risks associated with his condition, instead allowing her to grow and develop into a healthy girl . Nuru’s mother hopes the best for her child, "Am still in shock and unsettled due to my daughter’s conditions. I was informed that both conditions could be corrected but we are not in a position to afford any of the treatment costs. Please help save my daughter I don’t know what to do."