Ben joined Watsi on December 23rd, 2013. Nine years ago, Ben joined our Universal Fund, supporting life-changing treatments for a new Watsi patient every month. Ben's most recent donation traveled 8,800 miles to support Kosal, a 32-year-old husband and father from Cambodia, to fund surgery on his hand.
Ben has funded healthcare for 107 patients in 12 countries.
Ben has funded healthcare for 107 patients in 12 countries.
Meet Kosal, a 32-year-old husband and father who lives in Cambodia with his wife and three children. When he is not working, he enjoys playing volleyball, watching television, and spending time with his family. On June 12th, Kosal's left hand was burned at work by an electric shock. He visited a private clinic for wound care and medication and remained there for 15 days. Although he eventually returned home, the wound on his hand remained unhealed and has since become infected. He is currently experiencing pain and has a loss of sensation. Kosal traveled to our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre (CSC), to seek treatment for his infected wound. On September 1st, surgeons at CSC's care center, Kien Khleang National Rehabilitation Centre, will perform a debridement and nerve graft procedure on his left wrist. This surgery should enable Kosal to heal completely and regain full motion of his hand. CSC is now seeking $572 to fund his procedure. Kosal says, "I hope my left hand heals and I can return to work again."
Sareth is a 52-year-old rice farmer who needs cataract surgery so he can see clearly again. His wife is a garment worker and they have two sons, two daughters, and one grandchild. In his free time, Sareth likes to watch boxing on TV. Two years ago, Sareth developed a cataract in his left eye, causing him blurry vision and photophobia. Consequently, he has difficulty seeing things clearly, including colors and faces, and is worried about falling when walking, so he cannot go places independently. When Sareth learned about our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre (CSC), he traveled for three and a half hours seeking treatment. On June 7th, doctors will perform cataract surgery and an intraocular lens implant in his left eye. After recovery, he will be able to see clearly. CSC is requesting $253 to fund this procedure. Sareth says, "I want to be able to see better again and do all the things I need to."
Alvin is a jovial four-year-old in nursery school. Alvin is the firstborn in a family of two children. Alvin's father used to work in an engineering company as a casual laborer, but lost his job during the onset of Covid-19. He now does jobs around their home area to provide for the family. Alvin's mother is a stay-at-home mom. Late last year, his father noticed some swelling in Alvin's abdominal area. Alvin was examined at a nearby hospital and diagnosed with an inguinal hernia. Alvin was booked for surgery but they would have to wait for his treatment. A friend referred them to our medical partner's care center BethanyKids Hospital as an alternative. Upon arrival, Alvin was examined and diagnosed with cryptorchidism. If left untreated, Alvin has an increased risk of developing hernias, testicular cancer, and fertility problems in the future. Alvin's family does not have medical insurance and can not raise the required amount of money to fund Alvin’s hospital bill. Alvin will be receiving assistance from our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare (AMH) and is scheduled to undergo corrective surgery on May 11th. AMH is requesting $646 to cover the total cost of his procedure and care. Alvin’s father says, “Despite the financial struggles that we are going through, I know that God will provide the required amount of money to cater for my son’s bill.”
Kea is a 41-year-old food seller. She is married and her husband works as a potato and vegetable farmer to make a living. The couple has three daughters, who are in first, ninth, and 10th grade in school. In her free time, Kea enjoys exercising, playing with her children, watching television, cooking, and shopping. Three weeks ago, Kea fractured her right hand as she tried to catch a fan that was falling from her ceiling. She experiences pain and cannot move her finger. Fortunately, surgeons at our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre (CSC), can help. On April 25th, Kea will undergo a fracture repair procedure at CSC's care center. The surgery will allow her to use her hand easily again. Now, she needs help raising $483 to fund her procedure and care. Kea shared, "I hope my hand heals quickly and I am able to return to work soon without pain."
Tin is a 45-year-old man. Originally from Burma, he fled to Thailand over 20 years ago due to civil war. He currently lives with his wife, who works as a street vendor selling various snacks and vegetable, and one of his daughters, who is currently in school. His family also raises chickens, which they sell when they need cash. Tin previously worked as a farmer and a construction worker, but he has recently been unable to work due to his condition. In the future, he hopes to go back to work and help support his family. After an incident that occurred this past April that caused him to be hit in the left eye by a mango, Tin lost his vision in that eye and began to experience headaches, swelling, severe eye pain, and dizziness when attempting to stand. Tin eventually sought medical attention at a clinic. There, a medic checked his left eye, gave him a bottle of eye drops, and told him to seek treatment at Mae Tao Clinic (MTC) since they could not treat him there. However, he did not go to MTC right away due to financial constraints. He instead hoped that his eye would recover over time with the help of eye drops. Although his pain was temporarily reduced, the bruising disappeared, and the swelling went down over time, he never regained his vision. The pain in his eye eventually returned, and he noticed that he had a white spot on his left pupil. As the white spot increased in size, his eye progressively became more painful and began to itch. He now experiences discharge and watering in his eye, as well as difficulty sleeping. At the beginning of this month, a small lump appeared near the white spot on his left pupil. The lump gradually increased in size until it bursted on August 13th. After the discharge and bleeding from the lump stopped, he asked his friend to take him to MTC right away. When he arrived at the clinic, he was told to come back on Monday since there were not any eye specialist medics working on the weekend. When Tin returned on Monday, a medic examined his left eye, and he was diagnosed with corneal perforation, a condition resulting from the cornea being penetrated and damaged. Tin was also told that his eye is infected. He now must undergo surgery at our medical partner's care center, Mae Sot General Hospital, to remove his left eye as quickly as possible before the infection spreads to his right eye. Fortunately, Tin was referred to our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF), for financial assistance accessing treatment. On August 17th, surgeons at our medical partner's care center will perform an enucleation to remove his left eye. Now, BCMF is requesting $1,500 to fund Tin's life-changing procedure. Tin shares, “I feel very depressed and worried about my eye. I can’t imagine what my life would be like if I lost vision in both of my eyes. I want to receive surgery quickly to prevent my right eye from becoming infected. Without your help, I don’t think I would be able to receive further treatment. Therefore, I want to say thank you to the donors and the organization for agreeing to support my treatment costs.”
Anjelina is a beautiful two-year-old baby from Tanzania. She is the youngest of three children in her family. Both of her parents do small-scale farming of maize, beans, and other vegetables, which they grow to feed their family. To help earn money, her father sometimes works as a casual laborer. Anjelina was born at a local hospital where her parents were informed that their daughter has clubfoot of both feet. Clubfoot is a condition where the foot is twisted out of shape, causing difficulty walking and even wearing shoes. Although the doctor notified them that their daughter's condition could be corrected at a referral hospital, the hospital was over an eight-hour bus ride away, and they could not fund the transportation due to financial constraints. Fortunately, Anjelina's family was able to travel to our medical partner's care center, Arusha Lutheran Medical Centre. There, surgeons will perform clubfoot repair surgery on July 15th. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $935 to fund Anjelina's clubfoot repair. After treatment, she will be able to walk easily. Anjelina’s mother shares, “We tried to correct her feet using a local doctor, but there was not much improvement, and we couldn't afford to go to the referral hospital.”
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!"