iwao joined Watsi on November 24th, 2016. Six years ago, iwao joined our Universal Fund, supporting life-changing treatments for a new Watsi patient every month. iwao's most recent donation traveled 8,300 miles to support Ko Thaw, a 27-year-old factory worker from Burma, to fund mitral valve replacement surgery.
iwao has funded healthcare for 79 patients in 11 countries.
iwao has funded healthcare for 79 patients in 11 countries.
Ko Thaw, who is 27 years old, lives with his extended family in Burma. In early June 2022, Ko Thaw- who was working in a factory in Malaysia- developed a headache. Later that day, he also experienced chest pain, a racing heart, and an episode of vomiting. His employer brought him to the hospital, and after some testing, Ko Thaw was informed there was a problem with his aortic valve. He was given medications and a follow-up appointment. In January 2023, Ko Thaw's health deteriorated, and he was brought back to the hospital. An echocardiogram showed aortic valve regurgitation, and Ko Thaw was told that he would need surgery. His employer wouldn't pay for the surgery, and as Ko Thaw couldn't afford to pay for this on his own, he tried to manage his condition with medication. But when the medications stopped working, Ko Thaw decided to move back to Burma. Ko Thaw was referred to our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund. With their help, he is now scheduled to undergo mitral valve replacement surgery on May 14th at Pun Hlaing Hospital. For Ko Thaw, who currently experiences chest pain, insomnia, muscle stiffness, and headaches with fever, this surgery can't happen soon enough. Now he is seeking your help to raise $1,500 to cover the cost of his treatment. "I hope I can find suitable work soon after my surgery. I would like to say thank you so much. You all do incredible work for poor people who need assistance," said Ko Thaw.
Victoria is a 22-month-old baby girl that lives in Port-au-Prince with her parents. She is a happy child that enjoys dancing and playing dress-up. Victoria was born with a condition called Patent Ductus Arteriosus, where an extra blood vessel (passageway) called the ductus arteriosus (DA) allows blood from the right side of the heart to flow to the aorta and back out into the body without going through the lungs. This leaves Victoria feeling weak and short of breath. Fortunately, our medical provider, Haiti Cardiac Alliance (ACH), has diagnosed Victoria and created a treatment plan involving surgery to repair the issue. During the procedure on April 17th, doctors will use a device attached to a catheter to plug the hole so that blood can no longer leak. ACH is requesting $1500 to fund the procedure. Victoria's mother says, "Our family is very thankful to everyone who is making this possible for our daughter!"
15-year-old Min, whose parents passed away five years ago, lives with his uncle and his cousins in a village on the border of Burma and Thailand. He helps his uncle with his work as a farmer. On March 19, 2023, Min accidentally hit a stopped tractor-trailer with his motorcycle while driving at night. He was unable to move due to his pain, but people who were nearby brought him to the hospital. Currently, Min continues to live in pain and is unable to move his legs. With the help of our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, Min will undergo surgery to reset his fractured bones, and ensure proper healing. The procedure is scheduled for March 19th at Mae Sot General Hospital and will cost $1,500. Now Min and his family need your help to raise the money for Min's surgery, which will enable him to walk again. Min said: "I feel sorry for the accident. I want to thank you [BCMF and the donor] for helping me get treatment. I hope for full recovery. After I get treated, I will try to help my uncle who has been raising me and taking care of me all the time.”
Ju is a 27-year-old woman from Thailand where she lives with her friend. She used to work as an assistant cook with her friend until her accident. In her free time, she enjoys exercising and watching movies. On January 2nd, her friend was driving Ju home from work on her motorcycle when they were in an accident. When Ju regained consciousness three days later, she found herself in a hospital and learned that she had fractured her left pelvis. She cannot walk, and cannot sit up due to the pain. She has to stay in a reclining position. She experiences pain in her left pelvis, especially at night when it is cooler. With the help of our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, Ju will undergo surgery to reset her fractured bones and ensure proper healing. The procedure is scheduled for February 18th and will cost $1,500. This procedure will help her walk again and regain her independence. She will no longer be in pain and she will be able to work again. "I planned to earn money, but instead I brought a problem home. Now my mom has had to come here to help look after me. I feel stressed because now I am in debt. I will need to go back to work to earn money and pay back my debt", Ju said.
Lu is a 63-year-old man who lives with his wife and niece in a refugee camp in Thailand. He is unemployed, while his wife is a homemaker, and his niece is a student. Lu enjoys going to the forest to fish in the steams and to forage for vegetables. He shared he also likes to read the Bible and to sing hymns. Lu developed cataracts in both of his eyes. As a result, his vision is blurry and impaired, which makes it difficult for Lu to lead an independent life. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is requesting $1,500 to fund lens replacement surgery for Lu. On January 19th, doctors at Maharaj Nakorn Chiang Mai Hospital will perform a lens replacement procedure, during which they will remove Lu's natural lenses, and replace them with intraocular lens implants. After recovery, Lu will be able to see clearly again and get back to his day-to-day life. Now, he needs your help to fund this $1,500 procedure. Lu said: “I feel so annoyed and uncomfortable when I try to look around me, so I will often just close my eyes,” he said. “I want to receive surgery so that my vision can be restored.”
Meet Kyar, a 4-year-old boy who lives with his parents, two brothers, and one sister in Tak Province. Kyar and his siblings are students at a Thai school, while their parents raise pigs and ducks and grow some vegetables for their own consumption. Kyar's mother is a homemaker, and his father makes charcoal to earn a living. He will also work as a day laborer to supplement his income, and goes fishing to put additional food on the table. The family income is just enough for their basic needs. In early December 2022, Kyar was playing with rubber bands with his friends, when one accidentally hit his left eye, which turned red and became painful. Kyar’s mother brought him to a nearby hospital, where he was admitted right away. After two days, Kyar's mother was told that he needed to be transferred to another hospital, but after eight days there, Kyar was referred to a hospital in Chiang Mai, because of the nature of the injury. Currently, Kyar experiences severe pain, swelling, and tearing from irritation in his left eye. He cannot open his eye because it is too painful. With the assistance of our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, Kyar is now scheduled to undergo a surgical procedure on December 20th at Maharaj Nakorn Chiang Mai Hospital, that will resolve his injury, enabling him to see clearly again. Kyar and his family need your help to fund the $1,500 needed for the surgery. "I honestly feel sad to see my son's condition and also worried about financial difficulty, but after learning this organization BCMF and donors will support my son's treatment, I am relieved and happy," said Kyar's mother.
Titus is the eldest son in a family of four. He shared his life's story with us: sometime back, his father was involved in a fatal argument with a neighbor, and went to prison. Titus' family became homeless as a result of this incident, and Titus could not stay in school after 8th grade due to financial difficulties. Recently, he has been working getting jobs near his home and sometimes he works at construction sites in order to earn a living. His jobs enable him to get his daily basic needs and be able to pay for his rent. Generally, Titus’ life is hard, and it is difficult for him to makes ends meet. Titus had a burn accident and his relatives rushed him to the hospital for treatment of severe burns on his hand and superficial burns on his chest and face. He has been on a daily dressing regime to lower the risk of infection and his doctor has determined that he needs a skin graft surgery in order to replace the lost skin and restore function of his right upper limb and forearm. Titus is requesting to be discharged home from the hospital without further treatment because he does not want the bill to accumulate as it will be hard to pay. However, it is critical for him to have the surgery, so that he can have the full use of his right arm. He needs $1,089 to pay for the surgery. Titus says, "Life has really been hard for me: when a problem ends, another one begins. I am so desperate, but I will not lose hope because someday things will be well. I kindly ask for your help to get well so that I may be able to continue working in order to change my current state.”
Naanyo is a nine year old girl who lives with a small and loving family, consisting of her parents and two siblings. When she is not in school, she enjoys watching television and helping her mother to cook, wash and fetch water. She told us that also has fun playing with her school friends, especially when she pretends to be a police woman. When Naanyo was two years old, she was in an accident that resulted in burns on her left hand. She was treated at a local dispensary, and was sent home. However, after the burns healed, Naanyo developed burn scar contractures, which make it difficult for her to move her hand. Her parents were unaware that the contractures could be treated, until on a recent visit to a doctor, they were informed that surgical intervention could resolve Naanyo's condition. The doctor helped the family travel to Arusha Lutheran Medical Centre, where Naanyo was assessed and scheduled for surgery, which will take place on October 12th. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is here to help Naanyo access the care that she needs, despite the fact that her parents can't afford the $874 required for the surgery. They are appealing to you to help cover the cost of this procedure, which will make such a difference in Naanyo's life. Naanyo’s mother says: "We did not know that our child’s condition is treatable, but it is better being late than never.”
Steevenson is a 21-year-old, living in a small farming village in southwest Haiti, with his parents and three younger siblings. Steevenson helps his parents tend to their farm, although he is hoping to be able to complete high school, once his health has improved. As a child, Steevenson suffered from a case of rheumatic fever, which left his heart severely damaged. As a result, one of his four heart valves cannot pump sufficient blood through his body, which leaves Steevenson weak and short of breath. Our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance, is helping Steevenson to finally receive the treatment that he needs. Steevenson will fly to the Dominican Republic, where on September 26th, surgeons at Hospital CEDIMAT will attempt to repair his damaged valve. If this isn't possible, an artificial valve will be implanted. Haiti Cardiac Alliance is contributing $8,000 to pay for Steevenson's surgery. But Steevenson's family also needs your help to secure $1,500 to fund the cost of labs, medicines and follow up appointments, as well as for the passports and the social workers who will accompany the family to the Dominican Republic. Steevenson shared, "I have been praying for this surgery since I was a child, and I hope that when it is over I can be fully healthy and will have more energy."
Josephine is a 70-year-old mother of eight children who lives with her husband in Kenya. Although she and her husband both do some small-scale farming in her community, they depend on their children to support them. However, Josephine has recently been unable farm due to her current medical condition. Since January, Josephine has been experiencing troubling symptoms, including uncontrolled bleeding. She visited a nearby health facility in her hometown to be evaluated and was referred to a hospital for additional tests. There, she received a CT scan and a biopsy, which revealed that she has uterine cancer. Her doctor recommends that she undergo a total abdominal hysterectomy, a surgical procedure to remove the uterus, to help remove the cancer from her body and hopefully stop its spread. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation (AMHF), is requesting $1,260 to fund Josephine's surgery. Josephine has gathered funds to help with a copay, but the full cost of the specialist procedure is out of reach. On August 25th, she will undergo gynecological surgery at AMHF's care center, AIC Kijabe Hospital. After this procedure, she should be able to resume her life free from discomfort and bleeding. Josephine says, “Struggling with cancer at my age is scary. I can’t believe it! I hope the surgery will help to get rid of the disease.”
Josias is a three-year-old boy from Haiti. He lives with his parents and older brother. He is a happy and playful toddler who loves to smile and play! Josias has been diagnosed with hydrocephalus, a condition in which excess cerebrospinal fluid accumulates in the brain and increases intracranial pressure. As a result of his condition, Josias has been experiencing developmental delays. He cannot walk or talk yet. Without treatment, Josias will continue experiencing severe physical and developmental delays. Our medical partner, Project Medishare, is requesting $957 to cover the cost of surgery for Josias at Hospital Bernard Mevs to treat his hydrocephalus. This is the only site in the country where this care is currently available. The procedure is scheduled to take place on July 20th. This critical treatment will place a shunt to drain the excess fluid from Josias's brain to reduce intracranial pressure and greatly improve his quality of life. With proper treatment, Josias will hopefully develop into a strong, healthy young boy. Josias's family has shared that they hope this surgery will allow him to be more independent.
Yoon is a bright and loving 12-year-old girl. She lives with her mother and uncle in Karen State of Burma near the border with Thailand. She was a student in grade three but stopped studying in August 2020 when she was no longer able to walk. Yoon enjoys painting pictures and reading books. In the future, she wants to go back to school and continue her studies. She helps out her mother with household chores. Her uncle is unemployed whereas her mother is an agricultural day labourer. One day at home, Yoon fell down when she tried to stand up to go to the bathroom. Her feet felt painful and were pointing downwards. After that, she did not try to stand up again and would move around her house on her knees. Her mother would have to carry her to the bathroom. Due to their financial situation, her mother was not able to seek treatment despite being very worried for her daughter. Over time, Yoon noticed that her feet were increasingly pointing downwards and were stiff. Her legs would feel painful and were also stiff. Sometimes, she could not stretch out her legs due to feelings of tightness and pain. Her mom shared that she would cry whenever her legs pained, and she would have to wait until the pain lessened by itself. Additionally, her hands began to weaken until she could not hold food with her hands. At the same time, her speech became slurred and her voice became hoarse. On June 17, Yoon arrived at our medical partner's care center, Mawlamyine Christian Leprosy Hospital (MCLH), and was admitted that same day. She received a physical examination and was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and tightness of Achilles tendon in both of her legs. The doctor recommended she receive surgery on both of her feet, which would help her walk again, and scheduled the procedure for June 21st. When Yoon’s mother told the doctor that they cannot afford to pay for surgery, the doctor referred Yoon to Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF) for assistance accessing further treatment. Our medical partner, BCMF, is requesting $1,500 to cover the cost of an Achilles tendon lengthening procedure for Yoon. This procedure will elongate her Achilles tendon, allowing increased motion at the ankle joint. Without treatment, Yoon's condition will continue to cause her discomfort and will further limit her movement. Her mother said, “I cried almost every night when I saw my daughter in this condition. She always cried and complained about her feet. She always asked me to bring her to the hospital to get treatment. Whenever she asked me, I felt very sad and I would cry in secret. I want her to get treatment, but I cannot afford to pay for it. Due to COVID-19 and the current fighting in Burma, I cannot make enough money or save it. Often, I would only eat fishpaste and rice, but give her meat so that she can have something nutritious. When I heard that she has donors who will help her receive treatment, I felt very happy and thankful to BCMF for this kindness. I never thought she would receive such an opportunity. It makes me so happy that I do not know how to express it in words.”