Mia Kurkela
Mia's Story

Mia joined Watsi on October 1st, 2020. 14 other people also joined Watsi on that day! Mia's most recent donation traveled 4,800 miles to support Yar, an 18-year-old refugee from Thailand, to fund a tumor removal surgery.

Impact

Mia has funded healthcare for 13 patients in 4 countries.

All patients funded by Mia

Yar is a 18-year-old girl from Thailand. She lives with her parents, three younger sisters and three younger brothers in a refugee camp on the Thai-Burma border. Yar and her parents are all too ill to work and are homemakers, while her siblings are students. Her family relies on the monthly food allowance they receive from an organization to get by. They also grow vegetables for themselves to supplement this income. Yar completed grade nine, but felt too ill to return to school this year. In her free time, she likes to weave traditional Karen bags for her siblings and help her mother with household chores. One day in early January 2020, Yar started to experience neck pain, fevers, and chills. When she went to the refugee camp’s hospital, run by the International Rescue Committee (IRC), she was diagnosed with tonsillitis and was given oral paink medication and antibiotics. During her follow-up appointment, the medic gave her more of the same medications. After her follow-up appointment, Yar felt a small growth with her tongue inside her bottom left jaw behind her front teeth. She told the medic about this at her next appointment, but it was not checked out and she received more oral medication each week until the beginning of June 2020. During this time, the mass increased in size. In June, she was referred to Umphang Hospital, which then referred her to Mae Sot Hospital (MSH) for surgery. IRC brought Yar to MSH, where she received a physical examination, a CT-scan, and a biopsy of the mass. The CT result indicated that the mass was benign. In July, when she went back to MSH for her follow-up appointment, the doctor removed the mass in her mouth as well as five of her lower front teeth during surgery. Since the surgery, Yar has experienced swelling where the mass was removed. Daily, she experiences an achy pain in her lower left jaw, her neck and her back. The mass has also returned and is increasing in size. IRC referred Yar to Watsi's Medical Partner Burma Children Medical Fund for assistance accessing treatment in Chiang Mai Hospital. After reviewing a CT scan to confirm her diagnosis, the doctor in Chiang Mai recommended she move forward with surgery to remove the tumor. Now, she is scheduled to undergo mass removal surgery on December 3rd. She is requesting $1,500 to cover the total cost of her procedure and care. Yar shared, "I am scared to receive surgery but I believe that I will be recovered after that so I am happy."

$1,500raised
Fully funded

Marline is a 7-year-old boy from Kenya. He is a cheerful boy and a Grade 2 student at Jayden Academy. Marline wants to be an engineer when he grows up. Marline's mother says that he loves to dismantle and assemble electronics in the house, and is well on his way to his career dreams. Additionally, Marline has a condition called spina bifida. Earlier in April 2020, Marline was playing with his friends when his mother noticed a small pimple-like wound on his right foot. It was small at first, but slowly started to grow bigger in size. His mother rushed him to a nearby health centre in their hometown, where he has been undergoing dressing in the facility but they have not seen much improvement. Since Marline has been coming to Kijabe Hospital for his spina bifida clinic, he opted to seek review in the hospital and get this wound checked. He was reviewed a week ago by the plastic and pediatric surgical teams, who recommended that he undergoes debridement, excision of calcaneal ulcer, and flap cover surgery to clean and heal his infected wound. Currently, Marline is in pain and at risk for further infection. If left unattended, the wound may result in severe infection and possible amputation. Unfortunately, these procedures are costly for Marline's family. His mother is a single mother raising two kids on her own. Their family lives in a bedsitter house in Ruai, at the outskirts of Nairobi. Marline's father left the family and his responsibility. Marline's mother is the sole breadwinner of the family and she has a small grocery kiosk. The total profit from the venture is very small, and her close relatives are not able to assist with financial support. Their family appeals for help. Fortunately, our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is helping Marline receive treatment. On January 6th, surgeons will perform a debridement and skin graft procedure to help heal the wound and prevent possible complications. Now, Marline's family needs help to fund this $1,185 procedure. Marline's mother says, “This wound is worsening by the day. If left unattended, doctors say that he might lose his leg. This would be hurting all of us. Kindly help us as we really don’t have a way out."

$1,185raised
Fully funded

Stephen is a 3-year-old boy from Kenya. He's a playful boy and runs to grab a seat with his mother’s phone in his hand while meeting with our local Watsi rep. A week after his mother gave birth to him at home, she took him to a nearby clinic for the general examination. The physician diagnosed him with a birth malformation and referred them to BethanyKids Hospital for treatment. Upon arrival, Stephen was reviewed, some tests were done and he had a first surgery to rectify the condition through a hypospadias repair surgery. Later on, additional surgeries and tests were completed as a follow up. In the process, Stephen has developed a right inguinal hernia that the doctor noticed during his follow-up clinical visit. Stephen does not complain of any pain, but the swelling is very evident. The surgery will stop the swelling and any complications that Stephen may experience in the future. Stephen’s mother is a tailor and his father fetches water for neighbors to earn a living. The few surgeries and expensive tests that were done on Stephen have depleted their family of money to fund the surgery. With no extra source of income, their family of three struggles to sustain themselves and Stephen’s mother is appealing for financial help. Fortunately, on September 24th, he will undergo repair surgery at our medical partner's care center. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $554 to fund Stephen's surgery. Once completed, this procedure will hopefully allow him to live more comfortably. Stephen’s mother says, “It is hard for us to raise any money for the surgery. Any financial help to us will be appreciated.”

$554raised
Fully funded

Su is 14-year-old girl from Thailand. She lives with her parents in a village in Take Province, Thailand. After Su completed grade five she was unable to continue her schooling since there are no middle or high schools in their area and her parents could not afford to send her to school in nearby Burma. Today she and her parents are agricultural day laborers, each earning 150 baht (approx. 5 USD) per day. In the past, they used to have enough work but for the past four months they are not able to work as much as they would like to. Due to COVID-19 restrictions on the number of people who can gather, employers are only able to hire five to seven workers in a day. To ensure that everyone has a chance to work in their community, all the day laborers take turns working in a week. Around April or May 2020, Su noticed that she was not feeling well. When she explained how she felt to her mother, she was reassured that this was normal. However, around September 15th, Su started to suffer from terrible lower back and abdominal pain. When she went to Mae Tao Clinic she received an ultrasound which indicated a mass in her uterus. She was then referred to Mae Sot Hospital where she received another ultrasound and physical examination. The doctor then confirmed there was a growing mass in her uterus. The doctor told her they will be able to remove the mass with surgery. Su sought treatment through our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund. She is now scheduled to undergo mass removal surgery on October 1st and is requesting $1,500 to cover the total cost of her procedure and care. Once she recovers, Su hopes to help her parents out financially. “I will go back to work with my mother and I will save money,” she said. “I will build my parents a new house on our land in Burma. I will also learn to sew and do that [becoming a seamstress] for the rest of my life in my own shop."

$1,500raised
Fully funded

Our local Watsi rep shared that Monica strains to hear and requests to pull down my mask so that she can read my lips and follow the conversation. She is 33 years old and has had hearing loss for 8 years now. This condition has given her torment, pain, and driven her to near depression. She is unable to hear properly and occasionally gets irritating buzzing noises. She requires bilateral hearing aids that will help her to regain her sense of hearing and boost her self-esteem. In August 2012, it was all blissful and love was in the air for Monica, she shared. She had just settled down into marriage with the love of her life. She remembers vividly on the 23rd day of that month, Monica was doing her daily chores when she felt a billow of wind blowing through her ears. This marked the beginning of her hearing problem and an end to a normal life. At first, Monica thought it was just wind but she started getting nervous when her ears began producing endless buzzing noises that caused her discomfort. She visited a health center in her home town in Mwea where she was reviewed and treated. However, due to the severity of the condition, doctors referred her to a facility with ENT specialists. She has since visited several facilities but the condition keeps recurring. At one point, Monica felt that medical interventions were not working and opted to abandon seeking health care and try prayers. In 2016, she even tried to assembled elders from both sides of the family to help break what they believed was a curse. Nothing worked. Seeing their frustration, a friend of the family referred them to Watsi's Medical Partner Care Center Kijabe Hospital earlier this year. They were unable to visit the facility because they didn’t have money. But in the first week of September, a friend volunteered to give her fare and a little money for a consultation. She was reviewed by the ENT team at the hospital and hearing aids are recommended. Monica is married to a supportive husband who has always stood by her, even at moments when her marriage was going through turmoil. Together, they have three children aged between 4-9 years. They currently live in Ruai in a single room rental house that costs $20 a month. She is a manual laborer who earns daily wages depending on the availability of work. She told us that her income is unpredictable and at times, she goes for days without earning. Her husband works in building sites. On a good day, he makes an average of $4. They depend on this income to pay rent, upkeep for their kids, and medical trips for Monica. They are requesting assistance to make this treatment possible. Monica says, “This condition has frustrated me to a point of threatening my marriage. I know the aids will help to restore my hearing. The buzzing noises are so irritating and uncomfortable. At some point, I felt so low and disappointed that I wanted doctors to shut down my hearing so that I cannot hear the noises.”

$977raised
Fully funded