Laurence joined Watsi on December 9th, 2014. Five years ago, Laurence became the 761st member to automatically support a new Watsi patient every month. Since then, 5,163 more people have become monthly donors! Laurence's most recent donation traveled 4,500 miles to support Bernice, a 2-year-old from Kenya, to fund congenital umbilical hernia surgery.
Laurence has funded healthcare for 59 patients in 12 countries.
Bernice is a two and a half year old and the firstborn to her mother, who is raising Bernice on her own. Bernice’s mother is the fifth born in a large family of seven siblings. Bernice’s mother completed Form Four schooling two years ago, however, she was not able to continue with her studies due to financial pressures. However, since she had performed well, a well-wisher supported her to join a nursing college in Nakuru. She lives with her mother (Bernice's grandmother) who is chronically sick from a spinal injury. During the school holiday’s Bernice’s mother does clothes washing for people, in order to support her baby. Bernice was born with a congenital umbilical hernia. Her mother assumed that it would to heal, but the condition progressed. She was taken to a general hospital, where she was referred to Watsi's Medical Partner Care Center. During our interview, Bernice's mother said that she has been looking for funds to bring her baby for the treatment, however, it has been very difficult. Bernice’s mother shared, "I wish I can get help for my baby."
Lawi is a student from Kenya. He is the 5th born child in a family of six. He was born and raised in a small village called Mogil where most of the inhabitants work in farms or other unstable jobs. His parents are uneducated so they don’t speak Kiswahili. The family live in small mud hut with grass as a roof. His family gets its food from their small farm and consists mostly of millet, sorghum and seasonal fruits like mango. Lawi likes to spend his days climbing trees. Lawi was well until Sunday noon when he fell from a mango tree. Lawi sustained multiple severe injuries on his left leg and hand. He was rushed to our hospital accompanied by his father and on arrival an X-Ray was done where he was diagnosed with multiple fractures. He is in severe pain and is having a difficult time sleeping because of the fractures. Fortunately, surgeons at our medical partner can help. On November 7th, Lawi will undergo a fracture repair procedure, called an open reduction and internal fixation. This treatment will help Lawi heal well with no malunion and he will no longer be in pain Now, our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $968 to fund this procedure. His father says, “I just want my child not to be in pain anymore and be healthy and happy and have a good life.”
Win is a 49-year-old woman from Burma. She lives with her husband and four sons. Two of her sons are distant learners at university while her husband and two other sons work as masons. However, her husband had to stop working to look after the housework when she was no longer able to do so. Win was diagnosed with a heart condition that involves a malformation of her mitral valve, the valve between the left atrium and left ventricle. This valve controls the flow of blood, but certain conditions may cause blood to flow backward or the valve to narrow. Currently, Win feels tired, has no appetite, cannot sleep well nor walk longer distances. She also has a headache, chest pains, and tingling and numbness in her extremities. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is requesting $1,500 to fund a mitral valve replacement for Win. The treatment is scheduled to take place on March 11th and, once completed, will hopefully allow her to live more comfortably. Win said, “When I recover from my illness, I will go back to doing the housework so that my husband can also go back to work.’’
Karen is a two-year-old child from Tanzania, who is the last born child in a family of four children. Karen’s father works at a mine while her mother works as a storekeeper at a local school. Through their income, they are able to support their family's basic needs. Karen was diagnosed with bilateral genu varus, meaning her legs curve outward. This condition is typically caused by an excessive accumulation of fluoride in the bones, which often stems from contaminated drinking water. As a result, she struggles to walk. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare, is requesting $838 to fund corrective surgery for Karen. The procedure is scheduled to take place on February 13th. Treatment will hopefully restore Karen's mobility, allow her to participate in a variety of activities, and greatly decrease her risk of future complications. Karen’s father says, “Please help my daughter get this treatment so that she will be able to walk well without pain.”
John is a peasant farmer from central Kenya. Seven years ago, he was riding a motorcycle as a passenger when they were involved in a road accident. The other rider died while John was fortunate to survive. However, he suffered a severe right tibia fracture that was managed with an implant weeks later. His condition improved until 2017 when he fell and the same fractured area was impacted. The treatment he received developed infections last October and John was recommended to have bone transport surgery to correct the condition. He now requires second stage bone transport as part of the treatment and John is not able to provide the funds for the planned surgery. John is not able to ambulate easily and without prompt intervention, he might suffer fracture infections. John relies on his ancestral piece of land to make ends meet. Currently, his wife is the sole bread winner of the family. The father of three children lives in his ancestral land. His eldest child is educated by his brother since he is not able to fund all their needs. John says, “I am hopeful that soon I will be able to care for my children and walk with ease.”
Daw Khin is a 68-year-old woman from Burma. She lives with her daughter in Yangon Division. She is retired since 2014 and her daughter works for the Myanmar Carlsbery Family Limited (MCCL) Compangy in Yangon. Daw Khin was diagnosed with a heart condition that involves a malformation of the mitral valve, the valve between the left atrium and left ventricle. This valve controls the flow of blood, but certain conditions may cause blood to flow backward or the valve to narrow. Currently, Daw Khin cannot sleep well at nights because she often cannot breath well. Daw Khin also cannot walk long distances because she feels very tired if she does so. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is requesting $1,500 to fund a mitral valve replacement for Daw Khin. The treatment is scheduled to take place on November 19th and, once completed, will hopefully allow her to live more comfortably. Daw Khin said, "The doctors at different hospitals told me that I need surgery but I kept refusing because I do not have money."
Yonase is a young boy from Ethiopia. Yonase is a handsome and playful boy who loves playing football. He comes from a humble family. His mother does menial jobs to sustain the family including laundry for wages. Yonase was born with hypospadias, a birth defect that disrupts the normal flow of urine. His mother did not know of the defect and was told by a neighbour. He is not able to pass urine while standing like any other boy. If not treated, Yonase will be at risk of infertility and social stigma. He was reviewed in our facility where surgery to correct the defect was recommended. With limited income, the mother is afraid he will not be able to receive surgery. She is stressed with her son's conditions. She appeals for financial assistance. Fortunately, Yonase is scheduled to undergo corrective surgery on October 17th. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $1,231 to cover the total cost of his procedure and care. Yonase's mother says, "I am now hopeful that he will get the surgery and that he will be ok."
Aung is a 30-year-old man from Burma. He lives with his wife, daughter and sister in an internally displaced persons (IDP) camp which is close to the Chinese-Burma border town of Lweje in Momauk Township, Kachin State. Today, his wife works as a mathematics teacher at a middle school in the IDP camp. His sister is a student in the IDP camp while his daughter is still too young to go to school. He used to work as a English teacher. Later on, he stopped working in June 2019 due to his poor health. feels exhausted and he is not able to walk for longer than 30 minutes, or he feels tired. His heartbeat is rapid, he has blue lips and sometimes he feels like he is not able to get enough oxygen. He has no appetite and he is not able to sleep well, worrying over his health condition, the cost of his surgery and his inability to access it. Aung was born with ventricular septal defect, a cardiac condition in which a hole exists between the two lower chambers of the heart. Blood leaks through this hole without first passing through his lungs to obtain oxygen, leaving his sick and short of breath. Aung is scheduled to undergo heart surgery on September 15th to correct his condition and improve his quality of life. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is requesting $1,500 to cover the total cost of Aung's procedure and care. Aung said, "Even if I could go someplace else, I wouldn’t be able to do any hard labour due to my condition. And I can’t go to China because I can only speak a little bit of Chinese.”
Brighton is a young boy from Kenya. For five years, Brighton has had an inguinal hernia. If not treated, the hernia may result in intestinal tissue damage. Fortunately, on August 2, he will undergo repair surgery at our medical partner's care center. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $423 to fund Brighton's surgery. Once completed, this procedure will hopefully allow him to live more comfortably. “I want to be a driver when I grow up,” says Brighton.
Joseph is a baby from Kenya. He was diagnosed with cryptorchidism, a condition in which one or both of the testicles remains undescended. If left untreated, Joseph has an increased risk of developing hernias, testicular cancer, and fertility problems in the future. Joseph will be receiving assistance from our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation (AMHF). Fortunately, he is scheduled to undergo corrective surgery on July 1. AMHF is requesting $535 to cover the total cost of his procedure and care. “I am glad to have found hope here. Hope that my son will be treated. God bless you,” says Joseph’s mother.
Wilanka is a girl from Haiti. She was born with a cardiac condition called ventricular septal defect, in which a hole exists between the two lower chambers of her heart. She underwent open-heart surgery for this condition in 2017, but at some point after the surgery, the patch that was sewn over the hole unfortunately separated from part of her heart, and so she requires a second open-heart surgery to replace the patch. Wilanka lives in west central Haiti with her parents and three siblings; she does well in school, especially in math and science. Wilanka will fly to India to receive treatment. On August 14, she will undergo cardiac surgery. Another organization, Rotary International, is contributing $8,000 to pay for surgery. Her family also needs help to fund the costs of surgery prep. The $1,500 bill covers labs, medicines, and checkup and followup appointments. It also supports passport obtainment and the social workers from our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance, who will accompany her family overseas.
Kyaw is a 11-year-old from Thailand. He lives with his family in Mae Tao Village, Mae Sot District, Tak Province. He is a fourth grade student. Since March 2019, Kyaw has had umbilical hernia. At the moment, Kyaw feels abdomen pain. Fortunately, on May 22, he 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 Kyaw's hernia repair surgery. The procedure is scheduled to take place on May 22 and, once completed, will hopefully allow him to live more comfortably. Kyaw says, "I like to play football when I am free, and it is my favorite sport. When I grow up, I would like to be a paramedic."