Colin Cummins


Colin's Story

Colin joined Watsi on July 10th, 2014. 191 other people also joined Watsi on that day! Colin's most recent donation traveled 2,900 miles to support Maria, a mother from Guatemala, for surgery to prevent complications during her pregnancy.


Colin has funded healthcare for 23 patients in 7 countries.

All patients funded by Colin


"I am scared about what could happen,” shares Maria. “But I am glad I have support." 36-year-old Maria lives in a rural region of Guatemala, and delights in caring for her seven children. Maria is currently expecting another baby. “For three months Maria has not had regular menstruation, and 15 days ago she started to have hemorrhaging,” explains our medical partner, Wuqu’ Kawoq (WK). “Our medical team suspects she has an ectopic pregnancy based on the results of some preliminary lab tests.” In an ectopic pregnancy, the fertilized egg remains in a woman’s fallopian tube instead of moving to the uterus to develop as it should. This means the fertilized egg will not survive, and that the mother is at serious risk for internal damage: for instance, the fallopian tube can rupture, causing dangerous bleeding. “Ectopic pregnancies are fatal to the mother if not treated,” explains WK. Fortunately, treatment is available for Maria. A surgical technique known as laparoscopy can be used to examine Maria’s pelvic organs through a small incision in her abdomen. Doctors will then use a small camera to locate and remove the fertilized egg from her fallopian tube. This operation costs more than Maria and her husband, a day laborer, can afford—especially with seven children to support. But we can help. $977 will fund the surgery that Maria needs, as well as the lab tests and medication that will ensure she remains healthy after the operation. “This procedure will save Maria’s life,” says WK, “allowing her to be with her husband and seven children, and have a long and healthy life.”

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“Pedro discovered he was diabetic three years ago, but could not afford doctor visits or medication,” explains our medical partner, Wuqu’ Kawoq (WK). “Now, his diabetes has worsened, and at just 42 years old he has limited ability to walk and has extremely low energy.” Before he started experiencing the symptoms of his disease, Pedro was an active member of a musical group in Guatemala and a dedicated husband. According to WK, at 15 years of age, “Pedro fell in love with music” and joined his band as an electrical guitarist—playing in churches around town, and eventually, at the capitol building. He and his wife live in a small house and Pedro works as a farm hand during the week, though he used to spend his weekends performing with his band. Due to the toll the diabetes has taken on Pedro’s health, it is becoming increasingly difficult for him to work. This puts a financial strain on his family and he struggles to support them. If his diabetes continues to go untreated, Pedro is at risk of developing further complications such as “kidney failure, blindness, nerve damage, and heart and blood disease,” reports WK. For a healthy recovery that will allow him to return to work and support his family, Pedro needs $450 for treatment. This funding will ensure that Pedro receives the necessary medication and education to manage his diabetes. Laboratory studies will be performed to test Pedro’s glucose levels and track his progress, while a diabetes educator and case manager will guide Pedro to a healthier future. “This treatment will prevent Pedro from suffering from the devastating effects of untreated diabetes,” explains WK. “It will allow Pedro the energy to work and support his family, as well as attend church and play music with his band. He will gain the skills and education to manage his diabetes long term, and his quality of life will improve.” “I want to get better,” expresses Pedro. “I am dedicated. I want to be the person I was before, to visit different places, and to play guitar with my friends in our Christian band.”

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Meet Julia, a dedicated mother of three. Julia is 36 years old and lives with her family in Guatemala. She has been enrolled in a diabetes treatment program with our medical partner, Wuqu’ Kawoq (WK), for the past five years. Recently, WK found out that Julia is pregnant with her fourth child. Julia’s diabetes could cause major complications with her pregnancy. Without the appropriate treatment and monitoring, high glucose in the mother’s blood “can increase the risk of birth defects, jaundice, microsomia, or miscarriage,” explains WK. Julia herself is also at risk of future medical complications: kidney and eye damage, as well as a potentially lethal condition of high blood pressure called preeclampsia—one that can lead to swelling, headache, seizures and disruption of blood flow in the placenta. According to WK, “Julia is the main breadwinner in her family” as she sells tortillas from her house to support her children. She wakes up at 5 AM to gather wood behind her house to prepare a fire for making the tortillas. With the financial strain of supporting her three young children and maintaining the household, Julia is unable to afford the medical care she and her new baby will need to ensure a safe pregnancy and delivery. “With Watsi donor support our team will assist Julia in multiple ways,” explains WK. “She will receive extra attention from our nursing staff to ensure her glucose levels stay at a normal level. Our staff will work with her to prepare for a hospital birth, and up until the due date she will receive regular ultrasounds and prenatal check ups.” Blood work and transportation to the hospital will also be covered, ensuring that Julia and her baby have the appropriate health care for the whole birthing process. For $310, Julia and her new baby will have the care and attention they need for a safe pregnancy and delivery. With a healthy delivery and the care she needs to successfully manage her diabetes, Julia will be able support her young children as they grow up!

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Zar Zar

Zar Zar is a shy 14-year-old girl from Burma. She lives with her parents, 17-year-old brother, and two younger brothers. Her mother says that Zar Zar is a good student and she studies hard. Zar Zar is in the 9th grade and is looking forward to completing her studies. Her parents and older brother work as rice farmers, but this is typically not enough income to cover their expenses. Zar Zar has been diagnosed with encephalocele, a neural tube defect that causes a mass to grow. “When she was born her parents noticed a small lump on the bridge of her nose,” Zar Zar’s doctor at Burma Border Projects (BBP) tells us. “At that time the bump did not cause her any physical discomfort and she was otherwise a healthy, active baby. Her encephalocele now takes up the bridge of her nose and completely obstructs the vision in her left eye. Although it causes her considerable discomfort, she has learned to make do as well as she can. Only having vision in one eye has not stopped her from going to school, nor has the stigma attached to her condition.” “In the future, she said that she would like to be a teacher,” BBP adds. “At the moment, teaching is like a hobby for her, and she helps her younger siblings and her peers with their school work, she added that she enjoys explaining things and helping people learn. In addition, in her free time, she likes running and staying healthy.” Zar Zar’s family cannot afford the surgery needed to remove the growth from Zar Zar’s face, but with $1,500 we can make sure she receives the treatment. “After treatment she will concentrate on her education and hopes to help her family,” BBP explains. "Treatment will improve her confidence and make her more outgoing. Zar Zar’s treatment will also benefit the family as they will no longer have to worry about paying for expensive surgery and can look to the future with happiness."

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