Annie Calies

United States

Annie's Story

Annie joined Watsi on March 12th, 2013. 1,775 other people also joined Watsi on that day! Annie's most recent donation traveled 8,600 miles to support Yamin, a teenager from Thailand, to fund a CT scan.


Annie has funded healthcare for 55 patients in 15 countries.

All patients funded by Annie


Three-month-old Lorens is the only child to his young parents. He was born with a swollen mass on the back of his neck. Due to a lack of knowledge, his parents took the situation lightly. Little did they know that the mass was spina bifida and that, if left untreated, it would lead to further complications. A friend who noticed the swelling noted that it was not normal. Unfortunately for Lorens' parents, by this time it was a little too late; Lorens had already developed tethered spinal cord syndrome, a condition involving the fixation of tissue to the spinal cord. Surgery is required to release the tethered cord as soon as possible, but Lorens' parents are unable to raise the necessary funds. They did manage to fund $104 of their son's treatment, but the little income they receive from casual employment in their neighborhood has left them in need of financial support. Lorens' father is a casual laborer and will settle for any task, whether it is construction or transporting hand-driven carts, to meet the needs of his family. His wife is a stay-at-home mother. The family resides in a single-rental house in the suburbs. With $1,165 in funding, Lorens will finally be able to undergo a tethered cord release, thus eliminating pain, allowing fuller range of motion, and reducing other risk factors associated with the condition. Surgery will greatly improve Lorens' quality of life and allow him to grow up a healthy young boy. “I wish I could do more to make my son’s life easier," shares Lorens' mother. "I will do any job assigned to me just to have this pain eliminated from Lorens."

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Two-year-old Jose lives with his four siblings and parents in a one-room adobe house in Guatemala. He is curious and happy, and he will play with anything he sees. His father has an inconsistent income as a day worker, and his mother takes care of the household. His parents do not have the resources to give him the healthy and nutritious foods he needs. “Jose is malnourished,” our medical partner, Wuqu’ Kawoq (WK), shares, “meaning that he is far below a healthy height and weight for his age. He has not had access to the protein, calories, and nutrients that he needs to grow normally. Jose could be at risk of stunted neurodevelopment, difficulty focusing, and a greater risk of chronic diseases.” $512 will cover the cost of the treatment Jose needs to get back on a positive growth trajectory. “Growth monitoring, food supplements, and deworming medication will help Jose gain weight and grow taller to catch up with other children his age,” WK explains, “Treating him now will have a large impact—he will likely be able to reach developmental milestones. This will help him start to develop better both physically and mentally, giving him the chance to live a healthy and productive life, escaping the cycle of poverty and malnutrition that is making him sick.” Jose's mother will also receive nutrition classes to learn how to provide Jose with the best diet possible. “This is going to help us a lot, because we have so few resources," his mother said.

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“Julio had his first seizure when he was 13,” explains our medical partner, Wuqu’ Kawoq (WK). “At first, he only had them once a month, then once every two weeks, then every week. Lately, he has been having seizures three times per day.” These epileptic seizures can be frightening for Julio, a 15-year-old from Guatemala. “When he has a convulsion, he falls, begins to shake, and his eyes roll in the back of his head,” reports WK. “It normally lasts fifteen minutes, and afterwards he is usually weak and dizzy.” These now-daily interruptions often force Julio’s mother to keep her son home from school so that she can care for him. This has substantially slowed Julio’s education: even though he is in his mid-teens, and seems to have no learning difficulties, he has only reached fifth grade. His mother has also had to quit her job so that she can stay home with Julio, putting the family in financial strain. Despite these setbacks, Julio is an outgoing, academically ambitious boy. “Julio loves to study and talk with his classmates,” says WK. “His favorite things to do are to play soccer, and practice math.” He dreams of becoming a teacher one day. Without intervention, though, that dream will be difficult to achieve. Fortunately, Julio’s doctors believe his epilepsy is not intractable. For $966 we can connect Julio with the combination of medications he’ll need to get his seizures under control. This cost will also pay for diagnostic lab tests and a brain MRI, so doctors can make sure they are treating him correctly. “This treatment will allow Julio to be much more independent, as he will be healthy enough to leave the house on his own,” WK tells us. This means that Julio will be able to aim high in his own education, and someday, to help others do the same by becoming a teacher.

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