Ilhan Demirok
Ilhan's Story

Ilhan joined Watsi on March 25th, 2016. 270 other people also joined Watsi on that day! Ilhan's most recent donation supported Harriet, a farmer from Uganda, for life-changing thyroid surgery.


Ilhan has funded healthcare for 5 patients in 4 countries.

patients you have funded

Harriet is a small scale farmer and a mother of six. Her husband passed away 15 years ago and she lives in a three-room house with her children. Harriet's firstborn studied up through primary school class six and is now 20 years old and married. Her last born is 13 years old. One and a half years ago, Harriet began to experience troubling symptoms, including neck and chest pains accompanied by an increasing swelling on her neck. She has never visited any health facility for medical attention due to a lack of funds. She occasionally develops swollen eyes and can no longer carry heavy loads on her head. In addition, Harriet reports that she experiences airway blockage especially when she goes to bed. She decided to visit Rushoroza Hospital to seek medical attention. She was diagnosed with thyrotoxic goitre and after a review by the surgeon, a thyroidectomy is recommended. She is unable to raise the funds needed and requests assistance. She needs surgery to prevent her symptoms from getting worse. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is helping Harriet receive treatment. She is scheduled to undergo a thyroidectomy on October 5th at our medical partner's care center. Surgeons will remove all or part of her thyroid gland. This procedure will cost $333, and she and her family need help raising money. Harriet says, “I pray that I may be considered for surgery. I hope to live a normal life again and be able to continue with farming comfortably to further develop and sustain my family.”

Fully funded

Kabategweta is a 28-year-old married mother of two children—ages four and two years old—who live in Uganda. She holds a Bachelor's degree, but she has no job. Sometimes she does voluntary work where she gets only a stipend. She likes reading novels in her free time. In 2012, Kabategweta started feeling pain in her upper abdomen while she was pregnant. Whenever she walked or lifted heavy items, she would develop a swelling in her upper abdomen. She visited a hospital in the same year and diagnosed as having a hernia. A hernia is a protrusion of the intestines through a weak region in the abdominal muscles. A hernia presents as a protrusion—or bulge—in the abdomen and can become painful when coughing, bending at the waist, or lifting heavy objects. At the time of her diagnosis, Kabategweta could not undergo an operation to repair the hernia because she was pregnant. She delivered her baby by C-section. Since then she has been taking painkillers. Kabategweta would have gone back to the hospital for hernia repair after her baby was born, but she did not have money to pay for surgery. Her husband, a trader who deals in maize, has a seasonal income because there are times when the harvest is poor or when the price of maize is low. The family uses their income mostly for rent, and they are constructing their house, which is incomplete. $249 pays for hernia repair surgery for Kabategweta as well as three nights in the hospital, lab tests, and medicine. After surgery, she plans to continue looking for a job and start a farming business to raise capital for a small boutique business she wishes to start. “After surgery and recovery," shares Kabategweta, "I hope to put more effort in looking for a job because I will have the strength."

Fully funded

“We hope that our son can study and one day become a teacher,” shares the mother of 6-month-old Kevin. Kevin lives with his older brother and parents in a one-room cinderblock house in Guatemala. His mother works at home, cooking, cleaning, and taking care of Kevin and his brother. His father works as an assistant bricklayer, building houses and churches in nearby communities. Although Kevin’s parents want the best for their son, they do not have the resources to feed him even one vegetable, piece of fruit, or egg—the minimum that he needs to be able to overcome malnutrition. Kevin's mother noticed that her son is not growing well and is underweight, but did not realize that she was supposed to start feeding her son complementary foods. Subsequently, his current diet lacks protein, calories, and nutrients. If he does not receive treatment, Kevin could face the consequences of malnutrition for the rest of his life—he could have a low IQ, trouble focusing in school, and a greater risk of developing chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension as an adult. All these consequences make it less likely he will have a well-paying job as an adult, meaning the cycle of poverty and malnutrition would continue if he decides to have kids. Growth monitoring, micronutrient and food supplementation, and deworming medication will help Kevin recover from malnutrition. He will gain weight and grow taller to catch up with other children his age. His immune system will grow stronger with the increased caloric intake. This will further increase his appetite and help him use the extra calories to gain motor skills and learn new words instead of those calories being wasted on getting over frequent illnesses. In addition to Kevin's treatment, his mother will receive the support she need to feel empowered to give Kevin the diet he needs to grow and develop healthily, even with limited resources. Intervention now will give Kevin the chance to live a healthy and productive life and escape the cycle of malnutrition and poverty that made him sick in the first place.

Fully funded

"I am unhappy that I have ear pain, and it is hard for me to talk with other people,” shares Hin, a 52-year-old farmer who lives with her husband and six children in Cambodia. “For two months, Hin's right ear has had discharge, pain, and hearing loss caused by trauma with a cotton Q-tip,” our medical partner, Children’s Surgical Centre (CSC), tells us. “Her tympanic membrane was perforated.” The tympanic membrane—commonly known as the eardrum—is a thin membrane that separates the external ear structures from the middle and inner ear. It plays a major role in hearing by transmitting sound waves from the air to the middle ear, where the waves are converted to nerve impulses that travel to the brain. The eardrum also protects the middle ear from foreign objects, water, and bacteria. A tear in the eardrum can lead to hearing loss—as Hin as experiencing—and poses an increased risk for infection. For $399, Hin will undergo a myringoplasty to repair the tear in her eardrum. Funding also pays for up to two days of hospital care and three follow-up appointments in the first month after the surgery. “After a myringoplasty on the right side,” says CSC, “Hin's ear drainage will stop, and her hearing will improve. She will not feel pain from her ear anymore.” Hin’s husband looks forward to a successful surgery for his wife. “I hope after the operation is done, my wife's ear discharge will stop, and she can have good hearing and health,” he says.

Fully funded