Ben joined Watsi on December 23rd, 2013. Eight years ago, Ben joined our Universal Fund, supporting life-changing treatments for a new Watsi patient every month. Ben's most recent donation traveled 8,300 miles to support Yoon, a beautiful 12-year-old girl from Burma, to fund an Achilles tendon lengthening procedure so that she can walk again.
Ben has funded healthcare for 101 patients in 12 countries.
Ben has funded healthcare for 101 patients in 12 countries.
Yoon is a bright and loving 12-year-old girl. She lives with her mother and uncle in Karen State of Burma near the border with Thailand. She was a student in grade three but stopped studying in August 2020 when she was no longer able to walk. Yoon enjoys painting pictures and reading books. In the future, she wants to go back to school and continue her studies. She helps out her mother with household chores. Her uncle is unemployed whereas her mother is an agricultural day labourer. One day at home, Yoon fell down when she tried to stand up to go to the bathroom. Her feet felt painful and were pointing downwards. After that, she did not try to stand up again and would move around her house on her knees. Her mother would have to carry her to the bathroom. Due to their financial situation, her mother was not able to seek treatment despite being very worried for her daughter. Over time, Yoon noticed that her feet were increasingly pointing downwards and were stiff. Her legs would feel painful and were also stiff. Sometimes, she could not stretch out her legs due to feelings of tightness and pain. Her mom shared that she would cry whenever her legs pained, and she would have to wait until the pain lessened by itself. Additionally, her hands began to weaken until she could not hold food with her hands. At the same time, her speech became slurred and her voice became hoarse. On June 17, Yoon arrived at our medical partner's care center, Mawlamyine Christian Leprosy Hospital (MCLH), and was admitted that same day. She received a physical examination and was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and tightness of Achilles tendon in both of her legs. The doctor recommended she receive surgery on both of her feet, which would help her walk again, and scheduled the procedure for June 21st. When Yoon’s mother told the doctor that they cannot afford to pay for surgery, the doctor referred Yoon to Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF) for assistance accessing further treatment. Our medical partner, BCMF, is requesting $1,500 to cover the cost of an Achilles tendon lengthening procedure for Yoon. This procedure will elongate her Achilles tendon, allowing increased motion at the ankle joint. Without treatment, Yoon's condition will continue to cause her discomfort and will further limit her movement. Her mother said, “I cried almost every night when I saw my daughter in this condition. She always cried and complained about her feet. She always asked me to bring her to the hospital to get treatment. Whenever she asked me, I felt very sad and I would cry in secret. I want her to get treatment, but I cannot afford to pay for it. Due to COVID-19 and the current fighting in Burma, I cannot make enough money or save it. Often, I would only eat fishpaste and rice, but give her meat so that she can have something nutritious. When I heard that she has donors who will help her receive treatment, I felt very happy and thankful to BCMF for this kindness. I never thought she would receive such an opportunity. It makes me so happy that I do not know how to express it in words.”
John is a young student from Haiti who lives with his mother and two older brothers in a neighborhood of Port-au-Prince. He already loves going to kindergarten and enjoys playing with puzzles. John has a cardiac condition called double outlet right ventricle meaning the major arteries connect to the heart in an abnormal location making it difficult for blood to properly flow through his body. Unfortunately the treatment John needs to heal is not available anywhere in Haiti. So, John is flying to the Cayman Islands to receive cardiac surgery. On May 25th, surgeons will detach the arteries from John's heart and reconnect them in their anatomically correct locations. Have a Heart Cayman is contributing $17,000 to pay for this surgery. Our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance, needs $1,500 to help John's family cover labs, medicines, and follow-up appointments. It also supports passport obtainment and the social workers from Haiti Cardiac Alliance who will accompany John's family overseas. John's mother shared, "Our family all looks forward to our son having a more normal life after this surgery!"
Samuel is a 52-year-old small-scale farmer and a father of four. He grows cereals for his family to eat, but the lack of rain in the area has dramatically affected his crop yield. Samuel shared that his family was able to fundraise for his medical consultation and testing, but they request assistance for the cost of his surgery. A year and a half ago, Samuel noticed an itch at the back of his throat that gradually became painful. Although his symptoms were on-and-off, the pain increased over time, and his jaw began to swell. A local dentist referred Samuel to our medical partner’s hospital, Kijabe Hospital, for review. The doctors conducted a biopsy and found cancerous cells in his tonsils and throat. He needs to undergo urgent surgery to stop the spread of the cancerous cells. Currently, Samuel is struggling to talk due to the pain and the way the tumor affects his speech. Fortunately, our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare (AMH), can help Samuel receive treatment. On April 20th, he will undergo surgery to remove the mass. AMH is requesting $1,500 to help fund the cost of this procedure. Samuel says, “This tumor is painful, and I have been told it is cancerous. If it is not removed, it may result in the spread of the fatal cells. I am hopeful the surgery will be helpful because at the moment I am even struggling to eat.”
Bo is an eighth grader who lives in the school dormitory during the school year. During his free time, he likes to play the guitar, cook, and garden. He recently had his arm is amputated to help treat his bone cancer condition, so he is no longer able to play guitar anymore. His parents and his siblings live on the Thai-Burma border. His brother and his mother are day labourers while his father is retired. In May 2021, Bo began to experience pain in the top of his left forearm, close to his shoulder. In June 2021, the top of his left forearm began to swell until it spread towards his shoulder. The swelling grew very large, encompassing his left shoulder and upper forearm. Bo was in a lot of pain and could not use his left arm. Doctors diagnosed him with bone cancer and amputated his left arm to help stop his cancer from spreading further. He has also undergone chemo treatment after his amputation and now his doctor wants to do an MRI to assess his prognosis and plan for any further treatment that may be needed to protect his health. An MRI is an imaging procedure that uses magnetic fields and radio waves to produce images of bodily organs. This scan will hopefully help doctors diagnose his condition and formulate an appropriate treatment plan. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is requesting $814 to cover the cost of Bo's MRI and care, scheduled for March 11th. Bo said, "Since I finished my surgery and finished chemo injection, I am able to continue my studies without any pain. I hope that I will be able to continue my studies until I gradate from school."
Sioni is a 17-month old girl and the only child to her young mother. Sioni's mom never had a chance to go to school herself, and is the second wife to her husband, who has two wives and seven children. Sioni's father is a livestock keeper and a small-scale farmer. They come from a Maasai community where health facilities are a long distance away, and frequently are unable to go to hospitals due to financial challenges. Due to this reality, Sioni was born at home through the help of midwives. Sioni was born with clubfoot on both feet. Clubfoot is a congenital musculoskeletal condition in which the foot is twisted out of shape. This causes patients to have a great deal of difficulty walking and wearing shoes. Fortunately, Sioni's family traveled to our medical partner's care center, Arusha Lutheran Medical Centre, where she will receive treatment for her condition. There, on February 18th, surgeons will perform clubfoot repair surgery on both of Sioni's feet. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare, is requesting $935 to fund Sioni's clubfoot repair. After treatment, she will be able to walk easily, and grow up to run and play like other children. Sioni’s mother says, “I would like my daughter to be like other children.”
Ravuth is a bright student in the 4th grade. He's the youngest in his family and has three older siblings. When not studying, Ravuth likes to play football, watch TV and play games with his friends from school. Six weeks ago, Ravuth had a severe ear infection. This infection caused a cholesteatoma, or an abnormal skin growth, to develop in the middle ear behind the ear drum. Ravuth now experiences ear discharge, pain, fevers, and hearing loss. It is difficult to listen and he feels shy because he doesn't understand the conversation. He has frequently been absent from class and his mother is worried that he might be held back in school. Ravuth's family traveled to our medical partner's care center to receive treatment. On January 18th, he will undergo a mastoidectomy procedure in his left ear. During this procedure, ENT surgeons will remove the cholesteatoma. Our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre, is requesting $925 to fund this procedure. This covers medications, supplies, and inpatient care. Ravuth said: "I hope my hearing will improve and I can go back to school!"
Kundi is a sweet 5-year-old girl. She is the second-born child in her mother’s family of three children. Kundi was diagnosed with left genu valgus, a condition in which her leg bows so that her 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, Kundi has difficulty walking and playing. On December 10th, Kundi will undergo corrective surgery at our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare (AMH). Treatment will restore Kundi’s mobility, allowing her to participate in various activities and significantly decrease her risk of future complications. AMH is requesting $880 to fund Kundi’s surgery. Kundi’s mother shared, “We are struggling a lot because we have been moving from one hospital to another seeking treatment for our last born child who has sickle cell. We cannot afford Kundi’s treatment. Please help her; she is struggling a lot in walking.”
Taw is a 30-year-old woman who lives with her family in a refugee camp in Thailand. Originally from Burma, Taw fled to the refugee camp with her father in 2008 due to a civil war in her village. She used to work as a midwife in the hospital in the refugee camp but became a homemaker after getting married in 2017. Her father is unemployed, while her niece, nephew, and son go to school. Her husband worked as a day laborer outside the refugee camp. However, since COVID-19 cases were detected in the camp and there was an increase in cases in Thailand, schools were closed, and her husband can no longer leave the camp for work. The family shared that they rely on support from a local organization called the Border Consortium, which is not enough for their daily needs, so they must stretch the income until the end of each month. In her free time, Taw loves to play with her son and cook her favorite foods. Taw is expecting her second child soon. Due to her first delivery via Cesarean section and complications during birth, Taw’s doctors recommended that she deliver by a Cesarean section to ensure her and the baby’s safety. On November 15th, Taw will undergo a Cesarean section at our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF). BMCF is requesting $1500 to fund this procedure. Taw shared, “I have one son now, so I would like to have a girl this time. After I have weaned my baby, I want to work as a midwife again at the hospital.”
Collins is a polite and humble 14-year-old student and the third born in a family of four children. He is in primary school class six and hopes to become a doctor in the future. His mother is a housewife while his father works as a farmer. When he was one year old, while he was crawling, Collins accidentally fell on boiling water in a pan. He was taken to a nearby hospital for first aid for his burns. Now, he has burn scar contractures on his feet and has difficulty walking and running. His condition has affected his self-esteem, because he cannot play with his friends in school and at home. Fortunately, our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare (AMH), is helping Collins receive treatment. On October 25th, surgeons at AMH's care center will perform a burn contracture release surgery to help him wear shoes confidently, walk well, and play with his friends. Now, he needs help to fund this $840 procedure. Collins shared, "I am happy because after the surgery, I will be able to walk, run and play with my mates in school and when I'm home."
Eh Eh is a 24-year-old woman who lives with husband, daughter, sister and parents in a refugee camp in northern Thailand. She got married three years ago and her husband works at the pharmacy in the refugee camp. He is able to earn 900 baht (approx. $30 USD) per month to support their livelihoods. Her parents are retired, and her sister is in school in grade 11. Eh Eh works for the Camp Information Team and earns 1,000 baht (approx. $30.33 USD) per month. Their household also receives 1,662 baht ($55.40 USD) per month on a cash card from an organisation called The Border Consortium. Eh Eh became pregnant soon after her wedding in 2018. When she went into labour, she was unable to give birth due to her daughter being too big to fit through her pelvis. Malteser International (MI) staff, who run the hospital in the refugee camp, rushed her to Mae Sariang Hospital, where the surgeon performed an emergency C-section to deliver Eh Eh's daughter. On 28 December 2020, Eh Eh found out she was pregnant again. Due to her previous complications during labour, MI staff referred her to Mae Sariang Hospital for further care while she wis in her 39th week. Knowing that she will need to undergo another C-section, and that she cannot afford to pay for it, Eh Eh was referred to our medical partner, the Burma Children Medical Fund for assistance accessing the treatment she needs for a safe delivery for her and her new baby. Currently, although Eh Eh feels fine physically, she has mixed emotions about the surgery. She is worried and scared about undergoing the operation but she is excited to meet her baby. She shared: “I can cope with the worry because I have experienced this before, and because my husband will take care of me,” she said. “I just really hope that my operation will go well, and that baby will be safe."
Khom is a 52-year-old farmer. She lives with her daughter and has five other children who live nearby, along with many grandchildren. Sadly, her husband passed away several years ago. She works seasonally and spends most of her time in the off-season taking care of her grandchildren. She also likes making Khmer cakes and listening to the radio. In December 2020, she was in car accident that caused multiple fractures to her left arm and leg. Her family took her to a government hospital where doctors affixed hardware to heal the fractures. However, she could not afford continued treatment and the hardware has caused complications. The hardware on her left leg has become exposed and infected. She cannot walk and she experiences chronic pain. Fortunately, surgeons at our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre, can help. On August 18th, Khom will undergo a fracture repair procedure, which will cost $465. This procedure will help the fractures heal completely, and eventually help her walk easily again. Khom shared, "I am glad that these doctors can help me, and I hope that I can recover soon return to my family."
Molika is a 12-year-old student from Cambodia. She lives in the capital city with her sister and her parents who sell vegetables from a tuk tuk. Molika is in the fourth grade and her favorite subjects are math and English. In her free time, she enjoys playing with toys, watching TV, and helping her mother sell vegetables. When she was eight, Molika had an ear infection. This infection caused the tympanic membrane, or the ear drum, in her right ear to perforate. As a result, Molika experiences hearing loss, tinnitus, and pain. She cannot communicate clearly with others and no longer attends school. Molika traveled to visit our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre (CSC), to receive treatment. On June 21st, she will undergo a myringoplasty procedure in her right ear where surgeons will close the perforation. Now, CSC is requesting $464 to fund this procedure. This cost covers medications, supplies, and inpatient care. Molika shared, "I hope my ear gets better after surgery so I can hear well and return to school."