Melissa GrossmanMONTHLY DONOR
Melissa's Story

Melissa joined Watsi on May 11th, 2018. One year ago, Melissa joined our Universal Fund, supporting life-changing treatments for a new Watsi patient every month. Melissa's most recent donation supported Vicheka, a future teacher from Cambodia, to fund life-changing spinal surgery.

Impact

Melissa has funded healthcare for 18 patients in 6 countries.

All patients funded by Melissa

Vicheka is the eldest of two children in her family and loves her younger sister who is three years old. Their family lives in Preah Vihear near the Thai border of Cambodia. Her father is a soldier and her mother is a potato farmer. At school, she is fond of math and Khmer literature and would like to be a teacher when she is older. She likes reading books, painting, playing with her little sister, and taking walks with her parents. When Vicheka was five, she was diagnosed with scoliosis of the spine—a sideways curvature of the spine that most often is diagnosed in adolescents. She has uneven shoulders, a bump in her lower back, difficulty standing up straight, and shortness of breath. It has become difficult for her to breathe, she tires easily, and she is having difficulty walking. This can be very difficult for young girls, they are often hidden at home because other children make fun of the way they look. A neighbor told her parents about our medical partner Children's Surgical Centre, so they traveled over 10 hours for a diagnosis and surgery. Surgeons plan to put in expanding rods along her spine. The expanding rods will allow her to grow and keep her spine from curving further, which could cause her more health problems if left untreated. Their family needs $1,500 for the surgery, which will cover medications, implants, and post-operative care. Vicheka said, "I hope the doctors can fix my spine so I can play with my friends and my back will be straight. I want to continue in school but it is hard for me to keep up, and I miss school."

62%funded
$940raised
$560to go

Ma Zin is a 22-year-old woman from Burma. She lives with her older sister, who works as a seamstress in a factory. Her parents and older brother live in Burma as well. Her father is retired, while her mother works as a day laborer and homemaker. In 2019, Ma Zin began feeling tired very often. She also began having heart palpitations and occasionally difficulty breathing. She was examined by a doctor who gave her medication and referred her to a local hospital for a chest x-ray. The doctor diagnosed her with heart disease, and prescribed medication to treat her symptoms. However, in January of 2021, Ma Zin began experiencing greater fatigue and difficulty breathing. She quit her seamstress job due to her condition and visited a local hospital where she received an echocardiogram. She was diagnosed with atrial septal defect (ASD) and surgery was recommended. Fortunately, our medical partner Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF) is helping Ma Zin receive treatment. On December 19th, she will undergo an atrial septal defect closure at BCMF's care center. Now, she needs help raising $1,500 to fund her procedure and care. In talking about her dreams for the future, Ma Zin shared, "I want to become a designer in the future. I want to recover quickly so that I can go back to work. After I recover, I will learn how to design clothes and sew them myself. I will work hard for my family. I would like to see my parents smile and be happy. I would also like to live with my family in my village."

$1,500raised
Fully funded

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."

$1,500raised
Fully funded

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."

$880raised
Fully funded