UNIVERSAL FUND MEMBERA visual designer who believes in universal healthcare.
United States • scentofpetrichor.com
karen joined Watsi on February 22nd, 2016. Seven years ago, karen joined our Universal Fund, supporting life-changing treatments for a new Watsi patient every month. karen's most recent donation traveled 8,300 miles to support Sai Laung, an 18-year-old laborer from Burma, to fund heart surgery.
karen has funded healthcare for 79 patients in 14 countries.
karen has funded healthcare for 79 patients in 14 countries.
Sai Laung, who is 18 years old, lives with her parents and her younger sister in Shan State in Burma. Sai Laung used to be an agriculture day laborer, but she stopped working in July 2022 due to her illness. In her free time, Sai Laung likes to read Buddhist books and study English online. During the first week of July 2022, Sai Laung began to feel very tired and she developed a fever. At first, she thought it was because she was working a lot, but when she had difficulty breathing a few days later, her mother brought her to the hospital. She was told she might have a congenital heart condition, and the doctor recommended that she have an echocardiogram to confirm the diagnosis. Sai Laung had an echocardiogram at another hospital, confirming that she has a ventricular septal defect, or a hole in her heart. The doctor advised her to go to the Pun Hlaing Hospital in Yangon to see a cardiologist, which Sai Laung did towards the end of November 2022. During that visit, the doctor also diagnosed her with aortic valve regurgitation, and told her that she needs surgery. Currently, Sai Laung has difficulty breathing and is only able to walk short distances before experiencing fatigue. Performing ordinary household chores like cooking or cleaning is exhausting for her. Her lips turn blue, and she has sharp chest pain, fever, and difficulty sleeping. Fortunately, our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, has stepped in to assist Sai Laung access the care that she needs. On March 7th, she will undergo surgery to repair her heart at Pun Hlaing Hospital. Now Sai Laung and her family need your help to raise the $1,500 to fund this life-saving procedure. “I have felt so sad since I was diagnosed with this [heart disease]. I need surgery and we have no money. I look at my parents and I pity them because they work so hard to help me get treatment. I want to recover quickly and go back to work so I can help my parents with the extra income. When I learned that there are donors who will help pay for my treatment cost, I felt so happy," said Sai Luang.
Vacity is a 14-year-old girl from Kenya. She is the second of five children raised by a single mother. Vacity had been sick in school and was exhibiting symptoms such as fever, rapid heartbeat, increased appetite with weight loss, and fatigue. She was found to have too much thyroid hormone in her body due to nodules that developed on her thyroid. While medications have helped her condition, she needs surgery to prevent her symptoms from worsening. Her mother was recently in a motorbike accident, which is making it difficult for her to work and raise the money needed to fund Vacity's surgery. Our medical partner African Mission Healthcare Foundation (AMHF) is helping Vacity to receive the surgery she needs. She is scheduled to undergo a thyroidectomy on February 22nd at AMHF's care center. Surgeons will remove all or part of her thyroid gland. Vacity and her family need help raising $936 to fully fund the procedure. Vacity shared, ”My family is needy. I would like to work hard in school so that I can be able to change our living style. Kindly help me so that I can be able to live a healthy life and be able to prosper in future.”
Luz is a sweet baby from Bolivia, where she lives with her parents and two older brothers in a small mountain village. Her parents work as farmers to support their family. Luz, in addition to being diagnosed with Down Syndrome, was born with a ventricular septal defect, a heart condition where a hole exists between the two lower chambers of her heart. As a result, blood leaks through the hole without passing through her lungs to obtain oxygen, leaving her weak and short of breath. Fortunately, our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance who is expanding their work in Bolivia, is helping Luz receive treatment. On January 19th, Luz will undergo surgery where doctors will sew a patch over the hole, allowing for blood to flow completely through her heart and reach her lungs, obtaining oxygen and, ultimately, allowing her to grow as a healthy baby girl. Luz's family needs help raising $1,500 to fund her procedure and care. From Luz's mother: "Our family is all praying that after the surgery our daughter will be stronger and healthier."
Zeblom is a four-year-old boy from Ethiopia. He loves toys, playing football with his brother, and enjoys going to school. His twin brother is currently suffering from pneumonia and his parents are struggling to pay for medical treatment for both of them. His mother is currently not working as she is taking care of her kids, while Zeblom's father cuts wood for a living — his income is limited to providing basic needs for his family. They have not yet managed to get proper treatment for Zeblom due to these financial constraints. Zeblom was born with hypospadias, a congenital abnormality that causes urinary dysfunction. Without treatment, he will continue to experience uncomfortable symptoms and will be at risk of cancer and future infertility. Fortunately, Zeblom is scheduled to undergo corrective surgery on December 20th. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $1,293 to cover the total cost of his procedure and care. Zeblom's mother says, “After he goes through his surgery, I want to start working again and educate him. I hope he will be healthy like other children.“
Jayden is a 10 month old baby boy, living with his single mother in Tanzania. Jayden was born with a right clubfoot, and with the fingers on both of his hands fused together. Jayden's father has left the family, so Jayden's mother moved to live with her parents. Her parents have suddenly passed away, leaving Jayden's mother alone to care for her child. Because she is only able to work intermittently - taking care of other people's homes - Jayden's mother is unable to pay for the full, necessary treatment for Jayden's clubfoot. Fortunately, our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, will be able to help Jayden access the care that he needs to correct his twisted right foot. On November 4th, Jayden will undergo clubfoot repair surgery at Arusha Lutheran Medical Centre, which will enable him to wear shoes, and to walk with ease as he grows. African Mission Healthcare Foundation is seeking $935 to cover the cost of this procedure and his care. Jayden’s mother says: “I am so grateful that you are willingly helping my son to have a better life.”
Meet Su, a 10-year-old girl, living with her mother in Thailand. Because her parents are no longer together, Su sometimes also goes and stays with her father. Both of her parents work for local community organizations. When Su has free time, she enjoys drawing pictures, and playing with her friends. Su was born with clubfeet and a dislocated hip. After her birth, she received corrective surgery in Chiang Mai, with the help of our medical partner, BCMF. During her last visit to the hospital after her surgery, the doctor told her mother that she would need to bring Su back to the hospital after she had outgrown the special, corrective shoes she wore for her clubfeet. Due to financial constraints, issues with documentation, and the Covid pandemic, Su's parents were never able to bring her back to the hospital. In June 2022, Su started to experience pain in her right foot, whenever she walked for longer than 10 minutes. And, for the first time, she also began to feel pain in her right hip when she walked. The doctor at Mae Sot Hospital diagnosed her with a dislocated hip, and referred her to Chiang Mai for further treatment. Doctors in Chiang Mai want Su to undergo an MRI, which will help them to reach a definitive diagnosis, and to formulate a plan of treatment. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is requesting your help to cover the $814 cost of Su's MRI and care, scheduled for October 18th, at Maharaj Nakorn Chiang Mai Hospital. "I want my daughter to become a doctor in the future so that she can help others who also suffer from clubfeet," said Su's mother.
Meet Venesa, a beautiful two year old girl. She was born at home with a swelling at the lower part of her back, and with legs that were not straight like other babies their family knew. The day after she was born, Venesa's parents took her to the hospital, where she was diagnosed with spina bifida and clubfoot. The family was advised to wait until Venesa turned nine months old, before having her undergo the surgery that she needs. Although surgery was deemed urgent, when Venesa was finally old enough, her parents couldn't afford to pay for it. Then, about a year ago, Venesa was diagnosed with hydrocephalus. Venesa's mom shared that shortly after this last diagnosis, Venesa's father abandoned the family and is not involved in helping support them any more. Venesa's mother used to work at a salon, but after Venesa's birth, she has been unable to work. They are now living with Venesa's grandmother, who does what she can to help. Without surgery for her spina bifida, Venesa risks paralysis of her lower limbs, infection of the exposed nerve tissue, and developmental delays. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $1,151 to cover the cost of Venesa's spina bifida closure surgery. The procedure is scheduled to take place on September 14th, at BethanyKids Kijabe Hospital. This procedure will hopefully spare Venesa from the risks associated with her condition, allowing her to experience a strong and healthy life. Venesa’s mother says: “Since she was born, I have no peace knowing that I can’t afford her treatment.”
Shee is a bright and caring 12-year-old girl from Thailand who likes to play the piano, listen to music, and help her caregiver garden with her friends. She lives with 30 students, including her younger brother, in the dormitory of Has Thoo Lei Learning Centre. She is currently in fifth grade, and her brother is in third grade. Both her and her brother's dormitory fees, including food and accommodations, are funded by a Christian nonprofit organization called Compassion Thailand. Both of her parents currently live in Burma and work as subsistence farmers. Her father also works as a day laborer. Shee's parents support her and her brother with their school fees and pocket money. For the past two years, Shee has dealt with femoral hernias. As a result of her condition, she experiences pain in her right groin, as well as pain and discomfort when she sits for a long period of time. When she plays with her friends or is active, the bulge increases in size. Her condition has progressively worsened, and she has had to miss school frequently as a result. Fortunately, she will undergo hernia repair surgery at Mae Sot General Hospital, our medical partner's care center. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is requesting $1,500 to fund Shee's hernia repair surgery. The procedure is scheduled to take place on August 22nd. Once completed, she will hopefully be able to live more comfortably. Shee says, “I want to become a nurse when I grow up one day and help people in my community who are sick and need my help.”
Biniayam is a musically-inclined 17-year-old from Ethiopia. Some of his favorite activities include playing football, the piano, and the keyboard, as well as eating his favorite dish: meat! He comes from a family of seven children. To support their family, his father works as a farmer, and his mother manages their home and cares for her children. Two of his siblings are currently working, and the rest attend school. Biniayam himself finalized his national grade eight examination last summer and passed well! Biniayam was born with hypospadias, a congenital condition that causes urinary dysfunction. Without treatment, he will continue to experience uncomfortable symptoms and be at risk of infertility. His parents sought medical care for him after he was born, but due to financial constraints, he was not able to receive any treatment. They have since visited other hospitals but have still been unable to receive any help. Biniayam shares that he is worried and concerned about his condition. He mentioned that it not only affects him physically, but also psychologically, causing him to experience stress in many situations. Fortunately, Biniayam is now scheduled to undergo corrective surgery on July 19th. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $1,293 to cover the total cost of his procedure and care. Biniayam shares, “After the surgery, I hope this will be corrected and I will be confident to bathe in front of other members of the family without any fear. I also hope I won’t fear going to the restroom in public toilets. I hope I will be happy and have children in the future.”
Jayden is a sweet baby and the last born in a family of 5 children. His parents separated before he was born and his mother does laundry for neighbors to provide for the family. Shortly after Jayden was born, his mother noticed a large swelling on his back. She did not have the money to take him to a doctor at the time but, when he was seven months old, she took him to the hospital where Jayden was examined and was sent to another facility for a scan. Unfortunately, the scan was not done because Jayden's mother could not raise the required amount of money. She shared her plight with her boss who got in touch with one of the ambassadors from BethanyKids hospital in their village. The ambassador reached out to her the following day and helped bring Jayden to the hospital. Upon examination, he was diagnosed with spina bifida and urgent surgery was recommended. Spina bifida is a type of neural tube defect in which the spine does not properly close around the spinal cord. Without treatment, Jayden is at risk of lower-limb paralysis, infection of the exposed nervous tissue, development of tethered cord syndrome, and possible developmental delays. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare, is requesting $1,151 to cover the cost of Jayden's spina bifida closure surgery. The procedure is scheduled to take place on June 21. This procedure will hopefully spare Jayden from the risks associated with his condition, instead allowing him to grow and develop along a healthy trajectory. Jayden’s mother says, “I have been praying for a long time for Jayden’s healing and I now believe that he will be treated.”
Christian, who lives in the Philippines, is a hardworking father with a 7-month-old daughter. He works as an on-call waiter, while his wife is currently a student. With Christian’s limited income, he is worried about supporting all of his family’s needs and financing his medical treatment. In April, Christian was diagnosed with a hernia which requires surgery. Correcting the hernia will better enable Christian to find a new job and higher pay, and improve his ability to care for his family. With the help of our medical partner, World Surgical Foundation Philippines, Christian is scheduled for surgery at Our Lady of Peace Hospital on May 3rd, for which they are requesting $1,130 to fund his procedure and care. “I always fail my physical exams because of my condition, and I'm burdened by it because, as a father, I need to support my family,” Christian shared. “This surgery will be a big help to our family so thank you so much World Surgical Foundation Philippines and Watsi for helping,” he added.
Esther is a sweet 2-year-old from Haiti. She lives with her parents, grandparents, and several siblings and cousins in a neighbordhood of Port-au-Prince. Esther's parents are both market vendors. Esther was born with down syndrome and later diagnosed with a cardiac condition called ventricular septal defect. This means there is a hole between the two lower chambers of Esther's heart. Blood leaks through this hole without passing through her lungs to obtain oxygen, leaving her weak and short of breath. On April 20th, Esther will fly to Dominican Republic to undergo cardiac surgery to close the hole in her heart using a patch. This surgery is not available in Haiti and her family has been waiting for her to be able to travel for this life-saving care. Haiti Cardiac Alliance is contributing $8,000 to pay for her surgery. Esther's family needs additional assistance covering $1,500 for labs, medicines, and follow-up appointments. This amount also supports passport obtainment and the social workers who will accompany Esther's family overseas. Esther's mother shared, "We are very hopeful that after the surgery, our daughter will have more appetite and less weakness."