Helena's Story

Helena joined Watsi on April 5th, 2016. Six years ago, Helena joined our Universal Fund, supporting life-changing treatments for a new Watsi patient every month. Helena's most recent donation supported Losuru, a twelve-year-old boy from Tanzania, for surgery to treat a bowed leg.


Helena has funded healthcare for 6 patients in 4 countries.

All patients funded by Helena

Laraha is a 15-year-old boy who lives with his family in Tanzania. He is the fourth of ten children, and he loves singing traditional songs and dancing. Laraha has been herding cattle ever since he was a little boy and has never attended school. Recently, Laraha has been experiencing some knee pain after long days of herding cattle. He usually feels pain in the evenings when he is relaxing. It has also become difficult for him to run because his legs bow inwards and his knees knock when he runs. Laraha’s condition—known as genu valgus—is part of the normal growth and development of the legs and typical resolves on its own by age seven or eight. However, in some children, underlying bone disease prevents straightening of one or both legs and contributes to the strain of the involved knee joints. To improve his gait and reduce the risk of developing osteoarthritis at a young age, Laraha needs corrective surgery known as an osteotomy. During the surgery, doctors will remove a wedge of bone from each upper leg and attach pins, a rod, or a metal plate and screws to close the gap and straighten the leg. Laraha’s parents raise livestock and earn just enough to cover the family's basic needs. With such a large family to support, coming up with enough cash for Laraha’s corrective surgery has been difficult. $940 pays for Laraha's surgery as well as three pre- and post-surgical consultations, three days of hospital care, physiotherapy, medicine, and a three-month-stay at The Plaster House for recovery and rehabilitation. “I hope my legs will be straight like before so that I can continue to herd cattle,” shares Laraha.

Fully funded

Sela is an eight-month-old baby girl from Cambodia. Sela is living with syndactyly--she has webbed fingers and an extra digit on her left hand. Due to these abnormalities, it has been very difficult for Stela to use her hand. Thus, she and her mother traveled three hours to seek the help of our medical partner, Children’s Surgical Centre (CSC). Under normal conditions, the webbing dissolves, leaving five independent digits on every extremity. With syndactyly, on the other hand, the degradation of the tissue between fingers or toes is left incomplete during gestation and, in a few cases, like Sela’s, the webbing also covers an extra digit wedged in between. This specific situation, known as “polysyndactyly,” is a very rare occurrence, but when treated early in life it does not present lasting complications. However, if left unaddressed, Sela will lose significant functionality in her left hand. For $321, Sela will undergo a syndactyly repair, which will include a release to separate her fingers and a procedure to remove her extra digit. She will have also receive a skin graft to help heal her remaining digits. The funds will also cover supplies, inpatient care for ten days, and follow up visits for up to one year after the procedure. Because of the skin graft, this operation can be slightly more complicated than other surgeries, but CSC’s medical team says that the benefits of surgery (releasing Sela’s digits and allowing her to live a comfortable life) outweigh the minor risks. Sela’s parents are grateful and eager to have her surgery done. “I hope my daughter will have a normal hand like other people after surgery,” shares Sela’s mother.

Fully funded