Melissa joined Watsi on May 11th, 2018. Eleven months ago, Melissa joined our Universal Fund, supporting life-changing treatments for a new Watsi patient every month. Melissa's most recent donation supported Leakhen, a curious and playful student from Cambodia, for spinal surgery for her birth condition.
Melissa has funded healthcare for 14 patients in 5 countries.
Melissa has funded healthcare for 14 patients in 5 countries.
Leakhen is a bright and hardworking 12-year-old girl. She and her brother live with their parents, who are rainy day farmers, in Takeo province in Cambodia. Leakhen enjoys playing with her brother, reading books, and doing homework. When she grows up, Leakhen would like to be a teacher. Leakhen was born with congenital scoliosis. Congenital scoliosis is the presence of an abnormal curvature of the spine. The curvature causes the spinal column to bend left or right. Leakhen is not able to stand up straight or expand her lungs, which causes her frequent fatigue and chronic pain. Because of the stress that scoliosis places on the vital organs of adolescents and their ability to grow, active treatment is required. If not corrected, she could experience progressive weakness, numbness, or a loss of coordination. Leakhen is embarrassed to go places because of her condition. She has had two previous surgical procedures, and surgeons have determined that she needs a revision of her spinal rod to help her heal. Leakhen and her family traveled to our medical partner’s care center to receive treatment. On September 17th, she will undergo a revision of her spinal rod. During this procedure, surgeons will implant and expand a rod to allow her to continue to grow normally. Our medical partner, Children’s Surgical Centre, is requesting $1,500 to fund this procedure. This covers medications, supplies, and inpatient care. This support will help her feel confident and be active like other children her age. Leakhen said, "I hope that my spine will look better and I can play with other children."
Meshack is a young baby and the third born in a family of three children. His mother sells groceries in a local market and his father is a mechanic. His parents work hard to earn a humble income, just enough to provide for the family. Meshack was born a healthy and happy baby. However, a few days later, his mother noticed that he was not passing urine properly. His parents took him to a nearby hospital for examination where he was diagnosed with hypospadias, a congenital abnormality that causes urinary dysfunction. Without treatment, he will continue to experience uncomfortable symptoms and will be at risk of infertility. The doctor referred Meshack to visit BethanyKids Hospital once he turned 7 months old. Once they visited the hospital, he was scheduled to undergo a hypospadias repair surgery. Fortunately, Meshack is scheduled to undergo corrective surgery on August 19th. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $847 to cover the total cost of his procedure and care. Meshack’s mother shared, “It is hard for us to even think of raising any money as we cannot afford it, please help us. Thank you for your support.”
Stuwart is a playful and friendly boy and the only child so far in his family. He is currently in the first grade and he loves counting numbers and drawing. Stuwart’s father works as a bodaboda taxi driver to be able to support and care for his family. They shared that his income is not much but it helps them make ends meet. Stuwart was diagnosed with genu valgus. His legs bow inward so that his knees touch and rub against each other when he walks. This condition is typically caused by an excessive accumulation of fluoride in the bones, which often stems from contaminated drinking water. As a result, he is having a hard time walking and is experiencing pain. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare, is requesting $880 to fund corrective surgery for Stuwart. The procedure is scheduled to take place on July 15th. Treatment will hopefully restore Stuwart's mobility, allow him to participate in a variety of activities, and greatly decrease his risk of future complications. Stuwart’s mother says "We've tried to seek treatment for our son but all our efforts have not been successful despite trying to get national insurance. We are either to pay with what we don't have or wait for one year. Please help."
Paulo is a 5-year-old boy boy and the third born in a family of five siblings. He is yet to start formal schooling and his father has been taking him out with him grazing their cattle. His parents are livestock keepers from a pastoralist community. Paulo was diagnosed with bilateral genu valgus, or knock knees. His parents noted that he would complain of fatigue after walking for a shorter distance. They also started noting changes in how his legs looked, as they started bowing inward so his knees touch. This condition is typically caused by an excessive accumulation of fluoride in the bones, which often stems from contaminated drinking water. As a result, Paulo is not able to sustain lengthy walks. His relative referred them to a local dispensary providing health services, where a team from Watsi's medical partner's care center was conducting outreach. Paulo was reviewed and had surgery recommended to heal his condition. However, his family is not able to raise the cost of surgery required and thus appeals for help. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare, is requesting $880 to fund corrective surgery for Paulo. The procedure is scheduled to take place on June 10th. Treatment will hopefully restore Paulo's mobility, allow him to participate in a variety of activities, and greatly decrease his risk of future complications. Paulo’s father shared, "Please help my son; his legs are really bad and we cannot afford the treatment cost. Thank you for your support."
Than is a 44-year-old man who lives with his wife and three children in Mon State, Burma. He works hard as a day laborer and his wife sells vegetables around their neighborhood to support their family. His oldest child goes to school, while his other two children are still too young. In the future, Than hopes he can open a small shop. In mid-April 2021, Than was cutting wood with an ax to make charcoal for cooking. While cutting wood, his ax accidentally hit his left foot. He went to the nearest clinic, where the nurse stitched up his wound. After this, his wound was not painful. However, two weeks later, his left foot started to have pain and when he checked his foot, he saw pus around the area he had received stitches. Currently, the area around the injury on Than's left foot has turned black. He experiences severe pain, especially at night when the pain prevents him from sleeping. At the hospital, the doctors found that he had low blood supply, an ulcer, and cellulitis in the injured foot. In order to heal, Than must undergo wound debridement, a procedure which will clean the wound and remove the most damaged tissue to create opportunities for new skin to grow. His procedure is scheduled for May 11th, 2021 and his family needs $694 to fund his treatment. Than said, "I want the doctor to perform surgery on my foot as quickly as possible because I cannot handle the pain anymore."
Sary is a 49-year-old security guard who has proudly been married for 32 years. Together they have three sons and two daughters. Sary lives with his wife, who is a farmer, and their children. He does not have a lot of free time, but when he does he shared that he enjoys being with his children and listening to the radio. In June of 2020, Sary was in a motor vehicle accident that caused paralysis of his right shoulder. He has been diagnosed with a brachial plexus injury on his right side. The brachial plexus is a nerve network that transmits signals from the spine to the shoulder, arm, and hand. Injuries to this nerve network can result in loss of function and sensation. Sary is unable to lift his arm and he can't work. Sary traveled to our medical partner's care center to receive treatment. On March 16th, he will undergo a brachial plexus repair surgery. After recovery, he will be able to use his arm again. Our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre, is requesting $696 to fund this procedure. Sary was hopeful about his treatment and shared, "I hope I can be back to work as soon as possible."
Daudi is a happy 10-year-old boy from Kenya. He is the youngest of three children in his family. Daudi's mother sells vegetables as a street vendor in the village. She and her husband are separated. She is the sole provider of the family and Daudi requires a lot of attention. Daudi has clubfoot of both feet. Clubfoot is a condition in which the foot is twisted out of shape. This causes difficulty walking and even wearing shoes. Daudi's feet are rigid and he cannot walk or stand, so he relies on his mother who often carries him. Fortunately, our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare (AMH) is helping Daudi receive treatment. Daudi and his mother traveled to AMH's care center where surgeons will perform clubfoot repair surgery on March 16th. AMH is requesting $1,286 to fund Daudi's clubfoot repair. The surgery will be very impactful for him, because he will be able to walk and stand on his own. Daudi's mother shared, “I am appealing to people of goodwill to help my son undergo surgery so that he can be independent. God bless you!"
Lonyori is a 6-year-old child from Tanzania. He is the first born child of two in his family. Lonyori has a young sister, Mengori, who also has a similar health condition. Lonyori's parents are small scale farmers of maize and vegetables. They make extra income by selling these crops and also working casual laboring jobs when they can. Lonyori was diagnosed with bilateral genu valgus, or knock knees. His legs bow inward so that his knees touch. This condition is typically caused by an excessive accumulation of fluoride in the bones, which often stems from contaminated drinking water. As a result, he is unable to walk for a long distance and he complains of pain after a long day. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare, is requesting $880 to fund corrective surgery for Lonyori. The procedure is scheduled to take place on February 9th. Treatment will hopefully restore Lonyori's mobility and allow him to walk comfortably again. It will also prevent his risk of future complications with his legs. Lonyori’s uncle shared, "My nephew is struggling a lot and his parents can’t afford this treatment cost. They are struggling to make ends meet, and they did not have enough to travel to this hospital with Lonyori, so I helped to bring him. Please help my nephew get this treatment.”
Naw Ree is a 49-year-old woman from Thailand. Naw Ree has lived by herself in a refugee camp in northern Thailand since 2009. As a camp resident, Naw Ree receives 243 baht (approx. $8 USD) each month from an organization that supports refugee camp residents. She also works as a maternal and child health worker, receiving 900 baht (approx. $30 USD) per month. Naw Ree raises chickens and grows vegetables. Despite receiving free health care services in the camp, Naw Ree is struggling to make ends meet. On December 16th, 2020, Naw Ree went to see a woman who had recently given birth, to remind her about vaccinating her baby on time. After sitting and talking to the woman in her home, Naw Ree stood up to leave but felt light headed and fell. She put out her left hand to stop her fall, and hurt her left arm. She went to the hospital in the camp, run by Malteser International [MI] Thailand, and received pain medication and her arm was put into a sling. The next day, she was referred to Mae Seriang General Hospital for further treatment. At the hospital she received x-rays and the doctor told her that she had fractured one of the bones in her left forearm. She was then referred to Chiang Mai Hospital for further treatment, but her transfer was delayed for over two weeks due to an outbreak in COVID-19 cases in northern Thailand. Since Naw Ree lives by herself, she has to cook, wash her clothes, and feed her chickens without anyone's help, a difficult feat with her broken arm. Currently, she is in pain but has no fever. She can only fall asleep if she takes pain medication. With the help of our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, Naw Ree will undergo surgery to reset her fractured bones and ensure proper healing. The procedure is scheduled for January 6th and will cost $1,500. After surgery, Naw Ree will no longer be in pain. She will be able to go back to work as a health worker and she will be able to complete her household chores without pain or discomfort. Naw Ree shared, "My greatest wish is that I recover and that I may be able to use my left arm again."
Sherline is a 7-year-old playful girl from Kenya. Last Friday, Shirlene arrived at the hospital with pain in her right leg and head after being hit by a tree branch. Sherline had gone to fetch firewood with her friends when the accident happened. She was rushed to the hospital by samaritans and on arrival, an x-ray was done which confirmed a right femur fracture. Because she was unable to use her leg and was in pain, Sherline was put on traction to reduce pain, avoid irritation, and help put tension on the displaced bone. Sherline was born and raised in a village in Elgeyo Marakwet County. She was the firstborn child of a single mother. In 2015, during the Marakwet and Pokot clashes in their region, her mother was eloped and taken away to an unknown location. Since then Sherline has not seen her mum and, currently, she stays with her elderly grandmother. Shirlene's grandmother is a farmer of millet for their family's consumption. They live in a two-roomed grass-thatched house. Sherline is going through a tough experience with intense pain, trauma, and discomfort. She needs urgent help to fix her condition. Their family is facing financial hardship and is asking anyone reading Sherline's story to help her raise the fee for her surgery. Fortunately, surgeons at our medical partner can help. On December 16th, Sherline will undergo a fracture repair procedure, called an open reduction and internal fixation. The surgery will reduce the pain, initiate her healing, and help her to walk easily again. Now, our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $1,016 to fund this procedure. Shirleen's guardian shared, "It's paining me to see her cry in pain, I want her to receive treatment and be able to walk again."
Alice is a 47-year-old woman from Kenya. Sheis a single mother of 2 children, and her children live with their grandmother in their home village. Alice was an active and healthy woman who was able to use her legs normally. However, in early November 2017, she was involved in a road traffic accident that rendered her immobile. Alice was rushed to the hospital to undergo treatment and surgery. Although she was discharged, her troubles with the leg continued, and she developed more pain and complications. After returning to the same facility for treatment and not showing signs of improvement, Alice visited Kijabe Hospital. There, she has since undergone several other surgeries, including post-open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF) repair and debridement after the skin overlying the fracture site was compromised and infected. Alice's doctors have scheduled her for a sequestrectomy procedure and IM nail removal on November 12th. The sequestrectomy will remove any fragment of dead bone or other tissue that has separated from healthy tissue in her wound. Ultimately, they aim to prevent further infection of the hardware in her leg. Alice is currently ambulating in crutches and, if not treated, she might not be able to walk or properly use her leg in the future. Unfortunately, this procedure is costly for Alice and her family. Alice owns a small green grocery in Mukaa Town where she sells vegetables and tomatoes. Her total monthly profit is barely able to cover her basic needs, rent, and kids' needs; let alone pay for her necessary surgeries. She has depended on the National Hospital Insurance Fund and support from friends to help cover her several medical and surgical trips to different facilities. Alice is appealing for financial help so she can get the care she needs. Alice shared, "My problems never seem to come to an end after the accident. I have been through a lot of surgeries, and I still need more to be able to walk again. Thank you for your support."
Tabitha is a middle-aged woman from Kenya and a very jovial lady. She is a single mother with two children. In December 2019, Tabitha started feeling some swollen tissue in her breast. A few days later, she went to a nearby hospital to seek care. In the facility, a scan was done and she was given some medication. As time went by, the tissue in her breast continued to grow and worried Tabitha greatly. She returned to the facility to seek further treatment, but beyond a biopsy test and another scan, the facility told her they could not offer her additional treatment. When a family member paid her a visit, Tabitha shared her story and was referred to Kijabe Hospital. Upon arrival, she was examined and diagnosed with breast cancer. The doctors recommended a mastectomy to remove the lump in her breast. Without treatment, the cancer may metastasize to other organs. Tabitha has struggled financially to raise both of her children. To earn a living, she makes and repairs fishing nets and hooks and later sells them. One of her children has joined her in this business, and the other one does casual jobs to earn a living. Tabitha is not able to raise or source funds to pay for this surgery and appeals for financial help. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $857 to cover the cost of a mastectomy for Tabitha. The procedure is scheduled to take place on October 15th. After treatment, Tabitha will hopefully return to a cancer-free life. Tabitha says, “Having heard from the doctor that the swollen tissue might be cancerous, I am very much worried about my health. On the other hand, I am happy that the tissue can be removed. I am hopeful that I will receive treatment very soon despite having no money for the surgery.”