Karam joined Watsi on November 23rd, 2015. 17 other people also joined Watsi on that day! Karam's most recent donation traveled 4,300 miles to support Charles, a fourth grade student from Haiti, for open heart surgery.
Karam has funded healthcare for 2 patients in 2 countries.
Charles is an 11-year-old student in Haiti living with a congenital heart condition called Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF). This means Charles has a hole between the two chambers of his heart, and a muscular blockage of one of the heart's valves. As a result, Charles's heart cannot deliver enough oxygen to his body, making him sickly and weak. TOF carries a 35% mortality rate in the first year of life, and a 50% mortality rate in the first three years of life. It can also cause delayed growth and development later in life. Charles lives with his parents, younger brother, cousins and their family. He is in fourth grade, but his illness caused him to stop school late last year. He likes math and science, and would like to be an engineer or architect when he grows up. Charles needs surgical intervention to repair his heart. The goal is to repair the defects, including enlarging the blocked heart valve and patching the hole to improve blood flow and oxygen delivery to his lungs. Our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance, works to maintain a network of overseas referral hospitals in the United States, Canada, and elsewhere that are capable of accepting cases too complex to be attempted in-country. They organize not only the cost of the surgery, but also host family stay, airline fees, food, and travel insurance for the patient and parents for the duration of the medical care. Through Haiti Cardiac Alliance, $5,000 of the total cost has been subsidized by the Health City Cayman Islands, a medically advanced tertiary hospital located in Grand Cayman. Haiti Cardiac Alliance tells us that Charles’ family needs an additional $1,500 to cover the costs. Following surgery, normal blood flow should be restored to Charles's heart and he should not have any further cardiac symptoms. "I am excited to have this surgery so that I can go back to school and play with my friends again,” says Charles.
Meet Tam, a 42-year-old woman from Cambodia. Our medical partner, Children’s Surgical Centre (CSC), shares: “Tam is married, without children. She sells groceries at the market, and in her free time she enjoys listening to classic music and doing work around her house.” Two months ago, Tam developed mature cataracts in both eyes. A cataract occurs when a thin, cloudy layer forms over the eye’s lens. This condition can cause extreme discomfort, loss of vision, or even functional blindness. According to CSC, because of her cataracts, Tam’s eyes burn, tear up, and are irritated by bright lights. "It is hard to see clearly, and thus I can't do my work very well,” shares Tam. “I can't easily go outside, unless I have somebody’s help." After learning about CSC from a neighbor, Tam and her husband travelled two hours to visit their clinic. They learned that after a simple surgical procedure, Tam can regain her sight. With $225, Tam will undergo cataract surgery, during which her old lenses will be removed and replaced with sheer artificial implants--allowing Tam to regain sight immediately after her operation. Tam’s husband shares, "I hope that my wife will be able to see everything normally again and that I won't have to worry about her having eye problems anymore."