Shalene joined Watsi on December 20th, 2014. One year ago, Shalene became the 5354th member to automatically support a new Watsi patient every month. Since then, 1,104 more people have become monthly donors! Shalene's most recent donation traveled 8,700 miles to support Sifa, a three-month-old from Tanzania, to fund surgery for his spina bifida condition.
Shalene has funded healthcare for 44 patients in 13 countries.
Sifa is a baby from Tanzania. Sifa is a three months old baby boy and the youngest child in a family of four children. Sifa's parents come from the central part of Tanzania where most people depend on farming for their living. His parents own a small piece of land from which they are able to grow maize and sunflowers. Their income is not much and barely enough to support their family. Sifa was born with spina bifida, a type of neural tube defect in which the spine does not properly close around the spinal cord. Without treatment, Sifa is at risk of lower-limb paralysis, infection of the exposed nervous tissue, development of tethered cord syndrome, and possible developmental delays. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $1,015 to cover the cost of Sifa's spina bifida closure surgery. The procedure is scheduled to take place on August 24th. This procedure will hopefully spare Sifa from the risks associated with his condition, allowing him to grow and develop along a healthy trajectory. Sifa’s mother says, “Please help my son."
Edwin is a fifteen year old boy from Kenya. He was brought by his mother to a medical camp organized by our partner hospital, Cure International. He is in the eighth grade and very bright. His mother is a housewife while the father is a mason. Edwin was born with a condition known as hemiplegia, a weakness that results from damage to the part of the brain that controls muscle movements. This damage may occur before, during or shortly after birth. Therefore, the entire left side of his body is weak and he cannot see with his left eye. He is currently not able to walk and he keeps falling. The condition is worsening and lowering his self-esteem which is affecting his schoolwork. He is an aspiring engineer but is worried that the condition will hinder him from achieving his goals. Fortunately, our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare, can help. They are now requesting your help to fund this $1,224 surgery that will repair a congenital foot deformity. “My prayer is for my son to receive help, undergo the surgery, and continue with his life like other children. I would love to see him healthy and able to pursue his dream. I would greatly appreciate any kind of help,” Edwin’s mother shared.
Maxwell is a 3-year-old from Kenya. He is an only child, his father owns a small butchery, and his mother is a stay-at-home mom. Maxwell was born with hypospadias, a congenital abnormality that causes urinary dysfunction. Without treatment, he will continue to experience uncomfortable symptoms and will be at risk of infertility. Fortunately, Maxwell is scheduled to undergo corrective surgery on June 23. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $770 to cover the total cost of his procedure and care. “It will be a great joy to see Maxwell’s condition fully treated,” shared Maxwell's mother.
Htet is a 24-year-old woman from Burma. She lives with her grandparents, her uncle, her uncle’s wife, her niece, her aunt, and her aunt’s husband in Yangon, Burma. Her parents passed away when she was 19 years old. Htet's uncle is still searching for work and is currently unemployed, while his wife is a homemaker. Her niece is still too young to enroll in school. Htet works as shop vender at a construction store. Htet’s aunt is a homemaker while her husband is a day laborer. Htet’s grandparents are retired. Their family's combined incomes are is just enough for their daily expense and for basic healthcare needs. Htet was diagnosed with a heart condition that involves a malformation of the mitral valve, the valve between the left atrium and left ventricle. This valve controls the flow of blood, but certain conditions may cause blood to flow backward or the valve to narrow. Currently, Htet feels very tired and cannot walk long distances. Sometimes, she has chest pains. She often has a headache and shared that she feels stressed and unhappy all the time. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is requesting $1,500 to fund a mitral valve replacement for Htet. The treatment is scheduled to take place on May 31st and, once completed, will hopefully allow her to live more comfortably. Htet said, “In the future if I recover, I would like to become a makeup artist. In my free time, I try to make my own makeup.”
Meet Pauline, 12-year-old, calm girl. She is the 4th born in a family of five children. Pauline is a student in class 7 at Kathunguri School. Our medical partner met Pauline at a clinic in Embu and she was accompanied by her mother. Pauline's family hails from Kathunguri village in Embu county. Her mother is a housewife while her father is a farmer. Pauline was born normal and she could walk well like other children however during the month of December 2019, her mother noticed a sudden and unusual walking. She took her to a hospital where she was referred to our mobile clinic in Embu. The condition on her left foot has deteriorated and is suddenly lowering her self-esteem. “Sometimes my classmates imitate and laugh at me when I walk and I feel bad,” Pauline told us. She is scheduled to undergo a surgery which will be of great impact on her life and her growth as she will be able to walk confidently. She will also proceed with her education and her self-esteem will improve. Her family is unable to raise the estimated cost of surgery and thus requested for support from well-wishers. “I request for support for my daughter to undergo surgery. My joy would be to see her walking without any hardship and progressing on well with life.” --Judith, Pauline’s mother noted.
In is a 66-year-old rice farmer from Cambodia. She has one son, three daughters, and seven grandchildren. She enjoys looking after her family and cooking for them. Two months ago, In fell off of her bicycle and fractured her hip on the right side. She finds it difficult to walk, and painful to sit and sleep. Fortunately, In learned about our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre. At CSC, surgeons can perform a total hip replacement to relieve In of her pain and allow her to walk easily. Treatment is scheduled for February 20th, and In needs help raising $1,087 to pay for this procedure. "I hope that my mother will feel better and she will be able to go places and do things independently again. I am so glad that she is getting surgery and we will not have to worry about spending anymore money for her treatment. We are so grateful." -Chanthea, In's Daughter
Marvens lives in a rural area in northwestern Haiti with his aunt and uncle and their family. He has not yet started school due to his cardiac illness. He has a condition called Tetralogy of Fallot, which involves several related defects including a hole between the two lower chambers of the heart, and a muscular blockage of one of the valves. Marvens will fly to Jamaica to receive treatment. On March 4th, he will undergo cardiac surgery, during which doctors will close the hole in his heart with a patch, and remove the muscular blockage. Another organization, Chain of Hope UK, is contributing $6,000 to help pay for surgery. Marvens's family also needs help to fund the costs of surgery prep. The $1,500 bill covers labs, medicines, and checkup and followup appointments. It also supports passport obtainment and the social workers from our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance, who will accompany Marvens's family overseas. His uncle said, "We are hopeful that after this surgery Marvens will become stronger and gain weight so that he can be enrolled in school."
Chit is a 39-year-old woman from Burma. She lives with her daughter, mother-in-law, and her sister-in-law’s three children. Her husband has recently left the village to work in Bangkok so he could increase his income, especially since her condition has worsened. Since she became ill, she feels bored because she is unable to work. Around five months ago, Chit started to feel unwell with a stiff neck, headaches, and pain in her right eye. Soon after, she noticed that the black part of her right eye started to move inward toward the middle of her face, becoming crossed eyed. As soon as she noticed a change in her right eye, she went to a hospital to see a doctor about her condition. At the hospital, she underwent a CT scan of her head which showed normal findings. Therefore, the doctor just gave her an injection and oral medications. A week later, she decided to go see a local medic in her village because she felt like the medications were not helping. The medic looked at her medical test results, assessed her and said she might have a neurological condition. The medic gave her oral medication and another injection. She took the medication she received from the medic, and her symptoms subsided gradually. Chit's symptoms disappeared completely about 20 days ago, but this only lasted around 10 days because she noticed that the black part of her right eye had started to become white and the rest of her eye, normally white, started to turn red. She bought eye drops at a local medication stall, but they did not help. A few days later, she learned about Mae Tao Clinic (MTC), a charitable clinic, from one of her nephews. On January 11th, Chit visited MTC regarding her condition, and a medic explained that unfortunately her eye was not functional anymore and that it needed to be removed due to a severe infection. The medic also explained that if her right eye was not removed, the infection could spread to her left eye and cause the same problem. MTC then brought Chit to Mae Sot Hospital (MSH) and the doctor there confirmed that her eye needs to be removed as soon as possible. Chit said, "It's upsetting to know that I need to have one of my eyes removed. But then, I feel that since the eye is bad, there is no sense in keeping it. In the future, if possible, I want to get a prosthetic eye."
Chan is a 36-year-old woman who lives with her husband and father-in-law in Shwepyithar Town, Yangon Division. Chan’s husband works as a day labourer on a construction site, while Chan is a seamstress who works from home. In 2010, Chan started to feel tired, had a rapid heartbeat and developed joint pain. She went to the clinic in Thaton, where she lived at that time, and received an an echocardiogram (echo) and x-ray. The doctor also told her that, if her heart became too enlarged, she would not be able to control her condition with oral medication and she would not be able to have a baby. She then received oral medication for a week which made her feel better for a while. In September 2019, when she went back for her follow-up appointment, she received another echo. Following this, the doctor explained to her that her condition could no longer be stabilized with medication. As he knew that Chan could not afford to pay for her surgery, he referred her to Pinlon Hospital. On 17th September 2019, she met the staff at Pin Long Hospital and who then referred her to Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF). Currently, Chan suffers from chest pain, has difficulty breathing, has a rapid heartbeat and has lost weight. In her free times Chan likes to sew, cook and do housework. “When I’m fully recovered, I will continue to work as a seamstress, save money and live happily with family,” said Chan. “Once I have enough money, my husband and I have decided to adopt one child. And I want to do charity work and help poor people as much as I can.”
Paw is a 62-year-old widow from Thailand. She lives with her older brother in Thaw Lae Hta Village, Mae Sariang Town, Mae Hong Son Province. Paw has works as a homemaker taking care of her brother who cannot work due to congenital mental and physical disabilities. Paw has a younger sister in the same town who supports her financially and is her main source of income. Since 2014, Paw has been experiencing some abnormal pain in her right lower abdomen. She has been diagnosed with a myoma. She has been advised to undergo a total abdominal hysterectomy, the surgical removal of her uterus and cervix. If left untreated, Paw's symptoms will continue to worsen and put her at risk for further health complications in the future. Fortunately, Paw is scheduled to undergo her hysterectomy on November 19th. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is requesting $1,500 to cover the total cost of her procedure and care. Once recovered, Paw will no longer abdominal pain and she will be able to take care of her brother. Paw said, "Since 2019, I have been experiencing increased levels of pain in my right lower abdomen, increased back pain, and difficulty sleeping. Riding a motorbike aggravates the pain even more. I also experience dysuria and sometimes it takes me longer to use the bathroom. My appetite is good, but I cannot eat as much as I want because I experiences abdominal tightness, difficulty breathing, and fullness in my stomach when I eat too much."
Kelvin is a motorcycle (bodaboda) rider from Kenya. Kelvin was a passenger motorcycle rider (bodaboda) and was on his way to work when he hit a donkey cart. His jaw and left shoulder broke on impact. Kelvin was rushed to the nearest hospital where first care was administered and put on painkillers. The pain was intense and could not be eased by painkillers. His parents brought him to Kijabe. After the review was done, surgery to repair the mandibular fracture was advised. If not treated, Kelvin will not be able to feed on hard solid foods, and working will be difficult. Further, he will be at risk of further complications on the closed fracture. Kelvin has since been dependent on family, friends and well-wishers for well-being. He had no savings whatsoever and cannot raise the funds needed for his surgical care. Fortunately, surgeons at our medical partner can help. On October 17th, Kelvin will undergo a fracture repair procedure, called an open reduction and internal fixation. The surgery will allow Kelvin be able to feed well and reduce further complications. Now, our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $640 to fund this procedure. “I am not sure I still want to operate a motorbike taxi when I recover,” says Kelvin
On August 13th, after classes, Michale was playing with his friend at school. While fooling around, Michale’s friend poked him in the right eye. Right away, Michale’s eye began to hurt and his eye became watery. Eventually, he could no longer open his right eye. When he told a teacher about this, the teacher called his mother. His mother then took him back home before bringing him to Mae Tao Clinic (MTC) in Thailand, on 15th August 2019. Unfortunately, that day was a full moon Buddhist holiday in Thailand. Therefor he had to wait till the next day to have his eye examined by a medic. After checking his eye the following day, the medic gave him an ointment for his eye and painkillers. On August 20th, he was referred to Mae So Hospital for further assessment. At the hospital, the ophthalmologist checked his eye, diagnosed him corneal perforation and informed him that he will likely have to remove his right eye and referred him to Chiang Mai Hospital (CMH) for further treatment. After he came back from the hospital, Michale told the MTC medic about what the doctor had said and how he could not afford to seek further treatment in Chiang Mai. Therefore, the MTC medic referred him to Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF) for assistance in accessing further treatment. Michale says, “I would like to become an engineer, so I would like to study engineering when I graduate from high school.”