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.
Helena has funded healthcare for 6 patients in 4 countries.
Losuru is a twelve-year-old boy who first presented with a severe windswept deformity in February this year: one leg is bowed and the other is knock kneed. Losuru was brought to a medical center by a friendly missionary concerned about his condition. Losuru's health has greatly improved since he has been at the center. Through Watsi, he had his first surgery in June. This initial surgery straightened his left leg. Losuru has recovered well and is progressing with his rehabilitation. Losuru now needs surgery on his right leg to correct the deformity around his knee that results in a bowed leg. It is expected that this surgery will be successful and that with ongoing rehabilitation, he will recover fully and be able to return home. Losuru said, " I will be so happy to go home and not have everybody stare at me when I walk by. I look forward to being seen as normal and not different."
Thal is a 75-year-old rice farmer living in Cambodia with his wife, one son, three daughters, and four grandchildren. He enjoys listening to the monks pray on the radio. One year ago, Thal developed a cataract in each eye, causing him blurred vision. Since then, he has been unable to work on his farm, or leave his home without assistance. He and his son traveled to our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre (CSC), for further assistance. The doctors at CSC have recommended surgical intervention to alleviate his symptoms. They proposed a small incision cataract surgery (SCIS) and an intraocular lens implant (IOL) in each eye, which will replace his internal lenses with artificial lenses, and restore his vision to full clarity. In total, the procedure, supplies, drugs, and three days of inpatient care will cost $225. After full recovery, Thal will have regained clear vision, and be able to do his work independently.
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.
Lae Lae is a 40-year-old woman who lives in Burma. She lives with her husband, 18-year-old daughter, 14 year-old son and 12-year-old daughter. Lae Lae first experienced gynecological symptoms in September of 2014. Her present symptoms include pain in the abdomen, back and lower body. She is unable to work as she is easily overcome with fatigue due to lack of sleep. She also suffers from chronic hypertension and late onset diabetes. In addition, her appetite decreased, resulting in loss of weight. She is concerned about her condition as it is quite painful. She has been confirmed by ultrasound and physical examination to have a uterine mass. Lae Lae is disappointed that she cannot fulfill her chores as a mother and housewife. Her husband has taken on more of the chores such as cleaning, cooking and looking after the children. His salary is not sufficient to meet all of the family’s expenses so he occasionally borrows money from a moneylender at 20% interest. They are unable to save money or meet major medical expenses. In her intake interview, Lae Lae said: “I hope to regain my strength so I can be the mother that my family needs. If I fully recover, I have ambitious plans to buy land and open up a shop selling dry goods."
Ericka is a 10-month-old girl from Guatemala. She traveled over five hours with her family to make it to our clinic. She suffers from a rare genetic disorder called propionic acidemia. This means that she cannot metabolize proteins in a normal way, and for this reason she has to have a very low-protein diet. Ericka lives with her family in a rural community in the Pacific coastal region of Guatemala. Ericka loves to eat strawberries and play with her mother. Her mother is unable to work because of Ericka's special needs, making it difficult for her to be able to make money to support Ericka's medical care. Ericka needs to receive a full diagnostic workup to identify any brain abnormalities that may have been caused by not eating a diet that her body can tolerate. Currently, she still cannot sit up on her own, and likely will not be able to for a while--because of her condition. Also, she needs a special diet in order to avoid the risks of high ammonia in the blood, stroke, and sudden death. $1,385 will fund diagnostic testing for Ericka, and allow her medical team to determine the best course of treatment for her moving forward. Funding will also go toward her initial treatment. "Our dreams are to see her grow one day, and get better," Ericka's mother shared. "Maybe she could learn to walk. We appreciate the support we will receive for our baby."
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.