James Burton
James' Story

James joined Watsi on July 10th, 2014. 191 other people also joined Watsi on that day! James' most recent donation traveled 5,200 miles to support Victor, a teenager from Guatemala, for vision-restoring cataract surgery.

Impact

James has funded healthcare for 25 patients in 10 countries.

All patients funded by James

Victor is 16 years old, and lives with his parents and four siblings in a rural community in the mountains of Guatemala. His father suffers from End Stage Renal Disease and is too weak to work. This means that Victor's family is dependent on him to work, but with his vision nearly non-existent, he has had a hard time working as a shoe polisher. His mother works weaving traditional Mayan textiles, which she sells to other women in the community. Although his mother works hard, they barely have enough money to pay for food for the family, making a complex and expensive surgery impossible for them to afford. Victor has previously received funding for his care for a congenital deformity. He has since recovered, but complications from a rare genetic disorder means that he still has several problems that require treatment. Our medical team suspects that he has Marfan's Syndrome, which is known to affect the eyes and cause cataracts. He has had vision problems since he was very young, but his family has never had the resources to take him to a doctor--since few doctors in rural areas are equipped to evaluate and treat eye disorders. Now, at 16, he is nearly blind and has had to stop going to school. This treatment will change not only Victor's life, but allow him to work and provide for his siblings and ailing father. He will receive a complex surgery to fix his cataracts, along with transportation to and from he hospital, lodging for him and his family near the hospital while he recovers, and all follow-up treatment. Victor shared: "I know the promise that I have made for my family, and that is why I want to see well so I can work and continue in school. It's very important."

$1,500raised
Fully funded

Miriam is a 66-year-old woman from a remote region of Kenya. She lives with her husband in a grass-thatched house, and they sell charcoal to support themselves. Four of her five children have families and live in the same village, and her youngest child is in high school. In 2011, Miriam injured her eye injury and received eye drops from a local dispensary. However, she noticed a gradual change in her vision as she developed a cataract in one of her eyes. A cataract occurs when there is a buildup of proteins in the lens of the eye. This causes the lens to become cloudy, disrupting the passage of light through the lens and impairing vision. Most cataracts are due to age-related changes in the eye and account for 50 percent of all cases of blindness worldwide. Early symptoms include blurred vision and tearing. Miriam says she is not able to walk comfortably as she has problems with her vision. She has not been able to access medical care. In June 2016, at an eye camp organized by Kijabe hospital, doctors recommended cataract surgery for Miriam, but she is not able to raise the amount needed. For $230, Miriam will undergo small incision cataract surgery to remove the cloudy lens from her eye and replace it with an intraocular lens implant. Funding for her treatment also includes an overnight hospital stay, eye drops, and medicine to reduce pain and prevent infection. “I want to be able to see clearly again and be able to provide for myself," shares Miriam.

$230raised
Fully funded

Originally from Burma, Pa Lel is a 52-year-old housewife and mother of six children who lives in Thailand. She used to work as an agricultural day laborer with her husband and son, but she stopped working two years ago after she was diagnosed with hypertension. When she is not tending to her family or home, she takes care of the piglets that she raises. In early June 2016, Pa Lel went to a wedding ceremony. Returning home after the wedding, she fell on a large stone while trying to cross the road and broke her elbow. Her husband tried to stitch it up, and then they immediately went to the hospital where doctors stabilized her arm. They told her she would need surgery to fix her arm, possibly inserting a metal rod. Currently, Pa Lel is experiencing much pain in her arm. She is not able to move around, cook or clean, or take care of her house and family. She must keep her arm bandaged and splinted so that it stays straight and elevated. The family's income—the combined earnings from Pa Lel's husband, son, and two of her daughters—is just enough to cover their daily expenses but leaves them unable to save money or pay for healthcare. To pay for transportation and other costs associated with getting medical treatment, Pa Lel had to borrow money from her neighbor. For $1,500, Pa Lel will undergo surgery—open reduction and internal fixation—to reposition and set her broken arm and enable proper healing. Funding also covers the costs of seven days of hospital care, including food, blood tests, and medicine. In the future, Pa Lel would like to return to Burma with her family.

$1,500raised
Fully funded

Monica is a 17-year-old girl with dreams of starting her own business. “When I get better I would like to join a tailoring class and later on start my own tailoring business,” she told the staff at our partner hospital in Tanzania. Currently, Monica is struggling to complete her education in Tanzania due to genu valgus, a condition also known as “knock knees.” This means Monica’s knees bend inwards and touch when she is standing straight, and she “is unable to walk without knocking her knees,” shares our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation (AMHF). “She often feels pain in her right knee and when the pain is severe, Monica has to use crutches to move from one point to another." Monica has been dealing with this condition since she was in primary school. AMHF says, “The condition affected her ability to walk the long distance to school, and when the pain in her knee was severe she had to miss school.” She also had to stop participating in sports that she used to enjoy, like netball and her school’s marathon team. Monica’s parents earn income for their family of five by farming and running a small kiosk selling drinks and snacks. However, “Their income is not sufficient to cover the cost of their daily expenses as well as the operation which Monica needs,” reports AMHF. “If not treated, Monica will continue to be in pain and her gait will never improve.” Fortunately, for $940 Monica can receive the surgery, cast, and physical therapy necessary to heal her legs. After her operation, “Monica will be able to walk without knocking her knees,” and will thus have an “Improved gait and ability to efficiently perform various activities,” AMHF adds.

$940raised
Fully funded

Mary is a 28-year-old wife and mother who lives in Kenya. She came to our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation (AMHF), with leg pain and difficulty walking. “Three days ago, Mary was walking when she fell and hit her leg,” explains AMHF. “She was brought to the hospital and diagnosed with a fracture of the patella.” The patella, more commonly known as the kneecap, is a small, movable bone at the front of the knee. It acts as a shield for the knee joint and connects muscles from the thigh to the lower leg. Falling directly onto the knee, as Mary did, is a common cause of patellar fractures. “If not treated,” AMHF continues, “Mary will continue to have pain, and treatment delay may make it impossible for the bone to unite.” Treatment for Mary requires a surgical procedure known as open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF) to reposition and set the broken patella so that it can heal properly. $1,125 in funding covers the cost of surgery, a two-week hospital stay, and 10 days of physiotherapy. “We expect that an ORIF for Mary will enable her to heal and walk normally,” reports AMHF. Mary’s husband works as a day laborer at construction sites to support the couple and their three children. “Now he has to stay at home because of our small baby, and soon we may not have anything to eat,” Mary shares anxiously. “I hope Watsi will help me so that I can be well soon to go and assist him.” Let’s make this surgery happen for Mary!

$1,125raised
Fully funded