Zeke joined Watsi on April 7th, 2014. Nine years ago, Zeke joined our Universal Fund, supporting life-changing treatments for a new Watsi patient every month. Zeke's most recent donation traveled 8,200 miles to support Wellen, a farmer from Uganda, for hernia repair surgery.
Zeke has funded healthcare for 30 patients in 11 countries.
Zeke has funded healthcare for 30 patients in 11 countries.
Meet Wellen, a 35-year-old man from Uganda who has five children. For the last fifteen years, Wellen has dealt with pain from an inguinal hernia, a condition in which part of the intestinal tissue protrudes through the lower abdomen wall. At first Wellen's hernia didn't cause him much pain. As it got worse over the years, he was able to manage his pain with medication. However, for the last year the medication has failed to help. Wellen's pain has become much worse and he has begun to experience general weakness. He has had to cut back on his farming, relying on his wife and children to do much of the work on their small farm where they grow sorghum, corn, and other crops. Despite their hardships, Wellen and his wife, Glorious, have managed to send all of their children to school, which makes them very happy. When he is not working or spending time with his family, Wellen enjoys meeting with the other men in the village savings group and sharing ideas to build the community. In order to treat his pain and prevent possible future complications, Wellen requires a $208 hernia repair surgery, during which doctors will return the herniated tissue to the abdominal cavity and fix the weakened area in the abdominal wall. While he cannot afford the entirety of the cost, Wellen has contributed $4 towards his operation. "I hope to open a small shop in the village after my surgery," he says, "so I don't have to do so much labor farming, which could make my hernia return." "I thank all the donors supporting me," says Wellen. "On my own, I would not have managed, but I am now hoping after surgery to be more useful again." Let's help fund Wellen's procedure so he can return to his work and care for his family.
72-year-old Mutahi started feeling lower abdominal pain about five years ago, and later developed scrotal swelling on his left side, which keeps increasing in size. Since then, Mutahi has had on and off pain and backaches. His discomfort increases when he walks so he is unable to travel long distances. In 2015 Mutahi visited a health centre close to his home in Uganda, where he was told he had a scrotal cyst, but was advised to report his condition to a hospital for further diagnosis. He visited a hospital at the beginning of 2016 and was diagnosed with hydrocele, a condition causing an excess amount of fluid to build up. He was unable to pay for his surgery because he has no income so his condition has gone untreated. If Mutahi does not receive surgery he will continue living in discomfort and pain. With $215, Mutahi will undergo surgery to release the excessive scrotal fluid. This operation will relieve the pressure and pain Mutahi has experienced for the past several years and make it easy for him to walk and farm again. Mutahi is married and the father of 14 children. Most of his children are also poor; married and taking care of their own families with little additional resources. His wife is also sick; she is unable to do anything without straining. Mutahi is usually supported by his children, who feed both him and his wife and give them money to buy soap, salt, and sugar. “After surgery I hope to regain my strength and continue working in my fields,” shared Mutahi.
When she was in primary school in Kenya, Esther sustained an injury to her right ear while playing. Due to her family's inability to afford hospital care, she received traditional medicinal treatment. However, after enrolling in high school in 2006 Esther began to notice a hearing problem. Now, as a 26-year-old recent university graduate, Esther is not able to perceive sound with her right ear. Between 2006 and 2009 Esther visited different hospitals with no clear diagnosis of her condition. Luckily, in 2015 she was referred to a national hospital where she was diagnosed and hearing aids were prescribed. However, Esther cannot afford to purchase the hearing aids. Esther is the second-born child in a family of three children. She and her two brothers have been raised by a single mother who earns a living as a fruit vendor. Esther's eldest brother is a casual laborer, as he could not proceed with his education after high school due to lack of school fees. Esther was lucky to have a sponsor who has supported her education from high school through to university. She completed her degree in commerce in April 2016 but has yet to secure a job. Esther's aim in life is to support her mother and brothers, as they have had a long struggle in life. Due to her hearing condition, Esther has had problems fully engaging in conversations. People are sometimes offended when she has to keep asking them to repeat what they are saying. If not treated, Esther will continue having problems with her hearing and this may continue to affect her social relations. Her progress at work and in life will be limited because of the condition. Esther was recently referred by a friend to Watsi's medical partner, where hearing aids were once again recommended. Her family requires financial assistance to cover the $712 cost of the hearing aids. Let's help Esther purchase the hearing aids she needs so she can find a job and accomplish her goals. "My wish is to be able to access the hearing aids and be able to lead a more productive life and give back to the society," says Esther.
Sokhim enjoys cooking and taking care of her two sons at home. The 38-year-old weaver from Cambodia traveled two hours with her nephew to reach Watsi's medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre (CSC), for treatment. Since she was a child, Sokhim has experienced right ear discharge caused by chronic otitis media, or ear infection. She received an operation on her right ear in 2003, but it was unsuccessful. Sokhim still experiences discharge, hearing loss, and pain. Recently, doctors at CSC discovered a cholesteatoma in her right ear. A cholesteatoma is an abnormal growth that occurs in the middle ear behind the eardrum. Sokhim now requires surgery to remove the growth and treat the infection. For $809, Sokhim will receive a mastoidectomy surgery, during which surgeons will open up the mastoid bone to remove diseased cells and drain the middle ear. After her surgery, Sokhim's discharge will stop and she will be pain-free once again.
Meet Boniface, a 26-year-old who lives in Kenya with his mother and five siblings. His father and brother passed away a few years ago, so Boniface works in a vehicles' spare shop to help support his mother's income working on their small farm. Last year, Boniface began experiencing painful head migraines. He took over-the-counter medicines to try and alleviate the pain, but when he recently went to the doctor he was diagnosed with both hydrocephalus and a brain tumor. Hydrocephalus is an accumulation of water in the brain that causes increased pressure in the skull. In conjunction to this condition, the tumor has made it difficult for Boniface to see, and he needs assistance with walking because he cannot keep his balance very well. He also had to stop going to work. Boniface already received surgical treatment to drain the accumulated fluids and reduce the cranial pressure, but now surgeons recommend a crainiotomy to remove his tumor. If not treated, Boniface will continue experiencing migraines and risk complete blindness. Furthermore, he will be at risk of the tumor growing and causing more severe complications, even resulting in death. After his operation, Boniface will be able to return home to his family and continue supporting his mother and siblings. "I want to be free from the migraines and continue helping my mother," Boniface shares.
Meet Ana, a 23-month-old girl from Guatemala. Ana and her four siblings live in a one-room adobe house with a tin roof in a rural mountainous community. She loves to play with her doll with her older siblings, and sing to her little brother. Her parents are farmers, and they cultivate cabbage, cauliflower, and green beans which they sell at the market, and eat what does not sell. Although her parents work hard, they do not make enough money to support a healthy diet for Ana and need support to help her get well—they cannot afford to give her even one egg or piece of fruit per day. Ana is not growing like she should because she has acute malnutrition. She is nearly three and a half standard deviations below the normal size for her age. This is because she has not had access to a healthy diet—her body has not gotten the protein, calories and nutrients that it needs to grow normally. Her energy is low, she has little appetite, and she has been getting sick more often than the other kids that live in the neighborhood—in the past two weeks alone she has had a fever and cough. Diarrhea, cough, and fevers can be life-threatening for children like Ana, whose immune systems are weak due to their poor diet. Her mother is worried about her, since she has noticed that she is not growing as well as her older kids. In the long term, Ana could be at risk of stunted neurodevelopment, behavioral problems, and a greater risk of chronic diseases such as hypertension and diabetes. Growth monitoring, micronutrients, food supplementation, and deworming medication will help Ana gain weight and grow taller to catch up with other children her age. All of this can be accomplished with treatment, which costs $512. Treating her now will have a large impact—she will likely be able to reach developmental milestones just like healthy kids her age. This treatment will strengthen her immune system, increase her overall caloric intake, and allow her to have more energy to play and learn. Her parents will receive the support they need to feel empowered to give her the diet she needs to grow and develop--they will receive intense and motivational nutrition classes to learn what, when, and how to feed Ana the best diet possible. This will help her start to develop better both physically and mentally, giving her the chance to live a healthy and productive life, escaping the cycle of malnutrition that is making her sick. "I hope that one day she can graduate and become a teacher," Ana's mother shared.
Nine-month-old Konjit was born with a birth defect called anorectal malformation. "She has only one functional hole," shares our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation (AMHF). "As a result, she cannot pass stool and urine in a normal way. Both come through only one hole." Due to the absence of her anus, Konjit is also exposed to infection and irritation. Konjit’s parents are from the southern part of Ethiopia. Both her parents are farmers with low income that can’t cover much more than food. For this reason, they don’t have the capacity to get their child the treatment she needs, and to pay her medical bill. Konjit is very beautiful and enjoys playing and laughing with her mom. This condition is causing her parents a lot of worry. Treatment for Konjit is a three-part surgery. Konjit may or may not need a colostomy - doctors will determine this after the first surgery. If in case colostomy is done, she will have a colostomy closure in 2-3 months after the anorectoplasty procedure. AMHF expects that after treatment, Konjit will be able to pass stool and urine normally, and the risk of infection and irritation will be reduced. “I have been in different hospitals but I couldn’t get any solution because of my low financial status," shares Konjit's mother. "When we come here all we have is a glimpse of hope for our baby to get the treatment. And it is our prayer for our hope to come true."
Four-year-old Clarens lives in Haiti with his mother and grandmother. He was born with cerebral palsy and cannot yet walk on his own. However, he is slowly learning to walk with braces and crutches. “He is a very intelligent child and has already learned to read and write well,” says our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance (HCA). HCA continues that in addition to cerebral palsy, Clarens has heart disease. “Clarens was born with a cardiac condition called valvar pulmonic stenosis, in which one of the valves of his heart is too small to allow blood to adequately pass through. As a result, oxygen does not reach his body in sufficient quantities, leaving him sickly and weak.” Heart surgery can correct Clarens' condition. Health City Caymen Islands has raised $5,000 to cover the cost of his surgery, and another $1,500 from Watsi donors will pay for Clarens' surgery preparation, transportation, and travel funds so he can receive the surgery he needs. “Following surgery, normal blood flow should be restored to Clarens's heart and he should not have any further cardiac symptoms,” HCA says. "I am so happy that this surgery will be possible for Clarens, and I thank God and everyone who is helping to fix my son's heart," says Clarens’ mother.
Edna is a mother of seven from Haiti. Four years ago, she lost her husband and now raises their children alone. Until recently, she managed a small business selling clothes on the street. Two years ago, Edna noticed a lump in her breast but did not seek treatment for some time. Recently, she visited our medical partner, Project Medishare, and was diagnosed with breast cancer. “She is scared of the cancer diagnosis and can’t wait to have the treatment,” they share. The cancer made her ill to the point she could no longer work, and now has no income for her family and the treatment. “She has significant physical limitations as a result of the cancer,” explains Project Medishare. “Her children are in school and cannot help her with everything and she is unable to afford her treatment.” With our support of $1,500, Edna will undergo a mastectomy to remove the cancer in her breast and chemotherapy to ensure that it does not come back. These funds will cover the necessary pre-operative care, surgical costs, chemotherapy drugs, and hospital stay. “She hopes to get back to work selling clothes and to get back to caring for her children,” Project Medishare shares. “Since her husband died, she is their sole caretaker.” Let’s help Edna get well and return to enjoying time with her family.
Mu is a 38-year-old woman who lives in a rural Burmese village with her husband, son-in-law, five daughters, and ten-month-old grandson. Her eldest daughter got married last year, the middle two attend school, and the younger ones live at home. “Mu’s family harvests rice and grows vegetables on their land,” says our medical partner, Burma Border Projects (BBP). “They also keep chickens and pigs, which they occasionally sell when they need money.” Mu has a myoma -- a noncancerous growth in her uterus. “She can feel the mass in her abdomen and cannot sleep well due to back and abdominal pain,” BBP explains. “As she is unable to afford treatment in Burma, she has to cross the Thailand border to seek medical care. Each time she comes to Thailand, she has to stop working and take out a small loan to cover transportation costs.” Treatment to remove Mu’s myoma costs $1,500. This cost covers transportation to Thailand, a CT scan, and outpatient visits pre-surgery. “Once Mu has received treatment, she will be able to go back to work with her family and will not have to borrow money to cross the border,” BBP continues. “This will enable her to support her children to go to school and pursue their own interests. She will also be free from pain and discomfort and be able to live a life full of dignity.” “In the future, I will go back to my work on the farm – I am happy to stay in my village,” shares Mu. “I will be so happy to have surgery. I feel like I am carrying something inside so I want to take it out.”
Jeniffer is a 22-year-old single widow who lives with her daughter in Kenya. She owns a small hair kiosk and works with her local community as a youth program facilitator. “At the age of seven, Jeniffer was pushed and got cut by a glass bottle behind her left ankle,” our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation (AMHF) tells us. “She got treated but her leg continued swelling. Jeniffer took antibiotics for 10 years to counter further swelling. At the age of 17, Jeniffer got pregnant and her increased weight resulted in more pressure onto her injured leg.” Despite two previous surgeries on her leg, "she is not able to walk well. This condition is affecting her ability to work and take care of her daughter. If not treated, Jeniffer could develop severe infections which could result in an amputation.” AMHF adds that despite the pain, Jeniffer still wears a smile and "she exudes positivity that she will be well soon." Jeniffer requires surgery to remove the damaged and infected tissue and replace it with a skin graft. Jeniffer and her family and friends have already raised $110 for her treatment, and need $940 more. Jeniffer says she hasn’t been able to play with her daughter. “I would love to take her swimming,” she shares. “Being a single mother is already very challenging. I cannot overcome all this hardship with this sick leg.”
"One night while in aviation school, Leandro was directing traffic and he stepped out of his guardhouse to check on a busy intersection," shares our medical partner in Guatemala, Wuqu' Kawoq (WK). "The moment he stepped into the street, he was hit by a speeding bus. After three days in a coma, Leandro awoke with a missing arm and a fractured femur. He was in the hospital for four months." “Since the accident, my life has been difficult,” says 20-year-old Leandro. “It’s not as easy as it was before. But I’m still studying.” Though Leandro will unfortunately not be able to fulfill his dream of becoming a pilot, he is now currently working towards becoming a nurse’s assistant. "His family is poor and he has worked hard to be able to afford his studies, however the cost of a prosthetic arm, that would no doubt make his future career and daily life easier, is not financially in his reach," WK adds. For $1,255, Leandro will receive a prosthetic arm. "This prosthetic will change Leandro's life," WK shares. "He will be able to complete daily tasks easier, avoid social stigma, and when he completes his nursing degree he will be better able to care for his patients. He is excited for the opportunity to receive a prosthetic and has been very dedicated to all physical therapy regiments to prepare for the attachment."